Library History: Albany County, Wyoming

Apr 10, 2019

In honor of National Library Week, here’s a story from Wyoming’s own library history!

In 1903 the Laramie Boomerang reported on the events of a mass meeting of Laramie citizens who gathered the evening prior. The topic of the hour? Whether or not to accept Andrew Carnegie’s generous offer to build a county library.

The following excerpt shows just how favored the donation was by the citizens of Laramie:

“Whereas, Mr. Andrew Carnegie has offered to donate to Albany county the sum of $20,000, for the purpose of building a public library building in Laramie, on condition that the citizens of said county donated a suitable site for such building and contribute each year for the maintenance and support of said library, the sum of $2,000…The Rev. Mr. Hogbin said that he thought there was really no dispute upon the subject. He had talked to a great many people and they all spoke favorable to the acceptance of the offer…Mr. Crumine said that the $2,000 a year asked for would mean an increased tax of about 50 cents upon each $1,000.
The committee thought that the cost of maintening [sic] the library would be about as follows. For librarian and janitor $1,000 a year; lights and fuel, $300 a year; insurance $125 a year; repairs $75 a year, costs of books and papers $500 a year…Pres. Smiley said that the time had come when Laramie should take cognizance of its duty to the University as a University town. The University was looking forward to the library and reading room and possibly a room where games could be played, as a place which would counteract the bad influences on some other places upon the students.”

There was a nearly unanimous decision to accept the $20,000 donation, a sum equivalent to over half a million dollars today, and the Albany County Carnegie Library was given to the people in January of 1906. The current Albany County Public Library opened in 1981.

This Wyoming history has been brought to you by the Wyoming State Library’s Wyoming Newspapers Project.

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