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Baker County Library District


A Century of Community Literacy

1900       Alpha Literary Club was formed by a group of women whose principal aim was the establishment of a public library.

1901       Spring - A Library Social was held with the price of admission being one book. In all, nearly 250 books were donated at this event.

1901       Summer - Alpha Club President and Secretary sold subscriptions shares for $1 per year or $5 lifetime membership and bought more books.

1901       Fall - The collection of books was housed in the club rooms of the Commercial Club (forerunner of the Chamber of Commerce) on the second floor of the Baker Loan and Trust Company Building at which time it was first opened to the public. Loan cards were issued for the nominal fee of $1.00 per year.

1902       The Collection, 2 tables and an armchair were moved to a tiny room on the ground floor of the Pollman Building after the Commercial Club lost its space, where it continued to lend books to the subscribing public while the Alpha Club earnestly sought a new location.

1903       The Collection and its meager furniture moved to a larger room in the Baker Gas & Electric Building which faced Resort St., a space able to accommodate 20 new chairs which ladies of the Alpha Club brought from their homes.

1905       The Collection and all accumulated furnishings moved to a large room in the new City Hall.

1906       The stock in the Library held from subscription purchases was voted to the City. On March 17, 1906 the Baker City Public Library was opened free to the public, supported by a City tax.

1909       On June 21, the new Carnegie Library, a $25,000 gift from Andrew Carnegie, was dedicated and open to the public. The City was required to pledge $2,500 per year to support the public library under the terms of the grant.

1924       Reported 11,500 books on the shelves.

1935       Auditorium on the ground floor of the Carnegie was converted into a Children's Room.

1959-1964 Eastern Oregon Library Demonstration Project, funded by the State Library, established five branches and Bookmobile service countywide.

1964       Voters approved the permanent establishment of a county library system.

1967       Small bookmobile was replaced with 24-foot Gerstenslager Bookmobile, painted green and white, which still serves the outlying communities of Baker County.

1969       A gift from Mildred Stuchell Rogers led to the formation of a Library Building Committee. In December, City voters approved transfer of the building site west of Geiser-Pollman Park to the County for the new Library.

1970       Work began on the new 10,900 square foot library building in April. In May, voters approved an increase in the county tax base to support the library as a county department.

1971       The new building was dedicated April 4, in honor of Edna B. Stuchell, Pioneer and Civic Leader.

1986       County Court created the Baker County Library District, a separate municipal corporation, with its own elected five member Board of Directors. The County pledged to continue support until the voters could approve a separate tax base for the Library.

1988       In May the voters passed a permanent tax base for the Baker County Library District, at which time it became independent from County administration.

1993       Baker County Library Foundation was incorporated to receive donations toward an endowment and to enhance the library and its services to the public.

1998       In November, voters passed a $1 million bond to expand and renovate the Library.

1999       In May, ground was broken for the new addition.

2000       Work was completed on the 7,253 square feet of additions to the original building and the remodeling of its interior. Completed cost with furnishings and computers was $1.3 million. The additional funding was provided by grants and a $71,000 ten-year bond.

2001       Rededication of the Building and 1OO"' Anniversary Celebration of the Library.

2006       In May, voters approved a 5-year local option levy for operations. The measure passed by 58.6%.

2007       A full-time Library Director is hired, thanks to the local option levy funding.

2008       A new library branch is opened in Sumpter.

2010       Library Journal recognizes Baker County Library District as one of the “Best Small Libraries in America”.

2011       In May, voters renewed the local option levy. The measure passed by 65.2%.

2016       In May, voters renewed the local option levy. The measure passed by 83.1%.