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Library Building & Facts

About the Library

Corner Reading Area

The Iowa City Public Library was established in 1896 and has served the community from a downtown location ever since. The Library is governed by a semi-autonomous nine member Board of Trustees empowered by state law and city ordinance (Title 11) to set policy, determine goals and objectives, control monies appropriated or given to the Library, and to employ staff. The Library is a city department, Board members are appointed by and principal operating funds approved by the City Council.

History of the Library

Read about and see photos of the Library as it's existed in downtown Iowa City over a century. The Library has been through four buildings and two expansions is its colorful history. You can also read in detail about the Library's past with A Century of Stories: The History of the Iowa City Public Library, 1896-1997 by Lolly P. Eggers.

The Building Expansion

Lobby Full

The Iowa City Public Library's expanded and renovated facility opened June 12, 2004. The original building on the site opened in June 1981. The building grew from 47,000 to 81,276 square feet and features a new area for young adults, expanded meeting rooms, a computer training lab, wireless and plug-in internet connections, self-service checkout, room for collection growth and 619 seats. The building design is open and inviting featuring large expanses of glass, lively use of color, and beautiful art.

Design/Build Team

Engberg Anderson Design Partnership, architects
Joseph Huberty, project designer
Dan Kabara, project architect
Nicole Woods, interior designer

Knutson Construction, general contractor
Dave Mellecker, site superintendent

City of Iowa City
Joel Miller, project manager
Susan Craig, library director