The Richmond Public Library was built in 1914 as a Carnegie Library.
It is a two story building consisting of 2,574 sq. feet, built in the Carnegie tradition of stairs ascending to higher learning.
Andrew Carnegie believed that excess wealth and fortune should be spent for benevolent purposes. This philosophy, combined with his love of learning and books, led to the creation of the Carnegie Public Library Program. For 30 years beginning in 1892, “Carnegie paid for the construction of 1,689 public library buildings throughout the country in large cities and tiny crossroads, alike.“
Being a shrewd businessman, Carnegie did not give money to a community without stipulations. Each small town or large city, had to prove that it could support a library. “To be eligible, a community had to demonstrate the need for a library, provide a building site (grant money was not used to purchase land), and promise to support library services and maintenance with (local) tax funds equal to 10% of the grant amount annually. By requiring the communities to provide their own building sites and tax support, Carnegie ensured each community’s civic stake in the success of their public library endeavor.”
On June 4, 1912, Dr. H.A. Adamson presented to Mayor S.W. Hendricks and to the Richmond City council a petition signed by 67 citizens requesting a special election to vote on a proposition to develop and furnish a suitable building site and a maintenance fund for a Carnegie Public Library. The Election was held on July 1, 1912 with 95 voting in favor and 12 against. The City Council then held a special meeting on July 6, 1912, and Mayor Hendricks appointed a Board of Directors for the library. Charles Z. Harris, James W. Funk, George G. Hendricks, George M. Thomson, Thomas H. Merrill and Dr. Herbert A. Adamson were chosen as members of this board.
The Board of Directors, under the direction of the Mayor, met on July 10, 1912, and set up an organization with Charles Z. Harris as President, Mayor Samuel W. Hendricks as Vice-President and George G. Hendricks as Secretary. At this meeting the secretary was instructed to write a letter to the Carnegie Corporation asking for $10,000 with which to erect a suitable building. The board received a reply stating that they would receive an endowment of $8,000. On October 14, 1912, the council passed a resolution accepting the grant from Andrew Carnegie.
The proposed site was located on the north side of Main Street between State Street and First West. Watkins and Birch, architects from Salt Lake City, were given the job of drawing up the plans for the building, and these were later approved by the Board of Directors. Next, it became necessary to select a contractor to build and furnish this structure. After some consideration, the bids were opened for the building, and A.S. Schow of Richmond, being the lowest bidder, got the contract.
In the spring of 1913, building construction began and was completed in the fall of 1914. The $8,000 furnished by the Carnegie Corporation paid for the furnace and library furniture in addition to the building. Richmond City paid for the shelving and books. The Richmond Public Library was opened for circulation on October 20, 1914, the first one to be established in the Valley.