Everett Public Library opens its first location on April 21, 1898.

  • By Melinda Van Wingen
  • Posted 12/03/2019
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 20927
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On Thursday, April 21, 1898, Everett Public Library opens its doors to the public for the first time. The library has been in development for four years, with its backers working tirelessly to provide an open and accessible space for the Everett community. The new library, which occupies three upstairs rooms at City Hall, owes its existence to the hard work and civic leadership of a group of local women known as the Everett Woman's Book Club.

Four-Year Wait

The Everett Woman's Book Club had been in existence since 1894 with a primary mission of building a public library for the betterment of the community. The group successfully lobbied Everett's municipal leadership to support their project. However, they lacked a physical facility for the first four years.

The first library collection was stored in the home of Mrs. Robert McFarland until the club secured a public home in City Hall on Broadway. In 1898, the library occupied three rooms on the second floor of the wood-frame municipal building, which also housed the court, city administration, and police department.

On April 21, 1898, Everett Public Library opened to the public. The library collection included donated books and magazine subscriptions. To celebrate the opening, the book club ladies served light refreshments in the council chambers of City Hall.

The library operated 14 hours a week, on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, and on Saturday afternoon and evening. Although the Everett Woman's Book Club was itself only 23 prominent women who exchanged books freely amongst themselves, the public library they built was an inclusive and welcoming service for the community. The Everett News reported: "Everyone is cordially invited to visit the rooms at these hours and avail themselves of the use of the library. No fee whatever will be charged" ("Opening…"). The hours appear to have been chosen to accommodate the needs of those who worked during normal weekday business hours.

Within three years, the library outgrew its City Hall space and relocated to a temporary facility nearby on Rockefeller Avenue. Everett's new Carnegie library building opened to the public on July 3, 1905.


Hazel Clark, An Informal History of the Everett Public Library (Everett, WA: The Print Shop at the Bend in the River, 1996); "Opening of the Public Library," The Everett News, April 23, 1898, p. 1.

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