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Jennifer Benson submitted the correct answer today.

Clearwater Memorial Public Library is the answer to our 44th week of a feature to celebrate Orofino's history and heritage. Watch later this week for more historical information.

According to a history written by Ruth Pearce, first librarian, in the years after World War II, the people of this area wanted to build a memorial to the men from Clearwater County who had served. About $2,500 was collected and there some delay and much discussion about what form the memorial should take. At the urging of the Orofino Branch of the American Association of University Women, it was settled that a library would be a "living war memorial".

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During the summer of 1949, books were collected, cataloged and a space in the IOOF Hall was prepared with shelves for the library. It opened in October 1949 with about 600 books in the permanent collection. Since most of the books donated were for adults, children's books were borrowed from the Idaho State Library. Pearce said the majority of the library budget was used to purchase children's books and children have always been enthusiastic borrowers.

The library board has been self-perpetuating and self appointing. In the early years, funding was by donation until in 1952, it became part of the county's taxing structure as a "serviceman's memorial".

Pearce said during the first year the library was open three afternoons and one evening a week. The first annual report showed a circulation of 6,313, registration of 431 and number of books cataloged as 1,593.

In 1950-51 the Harold Kinne Post #3296 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars constructed a new building and allotted a room for the library. The collection and using was growing rapidly and in 1965, the library secured a long-term no cost lease for a home owned by Dr. Herbert D. Britan which was just across the street from the VFW. An open house was held at the new location in November 1965.

Since moving into the Britan home, the library has continued to grow and remodeling and expansion has been done, particularly in 1975 and 1983 when new additions were constructed. While books were the focus of the original library, the facility has become much more of a resource center over the years with a variety of media including computers with Internet access. In the early 1990s an Adult Learning Center was added in the library annex which further expanded the reach of the facility.

Monday: It takes a card.

Tuesday: It supports the timber industry.

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302 Johnson Ave. * Orofino, ID 83544 * 208-476-5589

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Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544
Fax: 208-476-3407