Library History

Established in 1896, we have been serving the community from the heart of downtown ever since.

History Timeline

1897
ICPL first opened its doors on Thursday, January 21, 1897 on the second floor of the C.O.D. Steam Laundry building at 211 Iowa Ave.
1901
Our second location opened in June of 1901 at 212 East College Street in the Cannon & Pratt building.
1904
The Carnegie Library at 212 South Linn Street opened its doors on Thursday, October 27, 1904.
1963
An addition was built onto the Carnegie building and dedicated on Sunday, November 10, 1963.
1981
The ICPL at 123 South Linn Street opened its doors to the public on June 14, 1981 after hundreds of volunteers moved all of the library materials across the street.
2004
Doors opened on a major renovation to the new building on June 12, 2004.
Today
The Iowa City Public Library remains at 123 South Linn Street.

First location of the Iowa City Public Library
211 Iowa Avenue
C.O.D. Steam Laundry building


Carnegie building of the Iowa City Public Library
212 South Linn Street
Carnegie Library


Current building of the Iowa City Public Library
123 South Linn Street
Current location

Additional Resources

A Century of Stories: The History of the Iowa City Public Library, 1896-1997 by Lolly P. Eggers
Visit our Digital History Project for more photos