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Opening Library at Bown Crossing, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter Confirms Effort to Build New Main Library By 2020

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When he was a boy growing up in Boise, Dave Bieter used to go to the old Carnegie Library on Washington Street, "to look up Babe Ruth's batting average."

"But when I walked into that building, I felt like I was doing something profound," he said. "It was pulling me up to do big things."

Now as Mayor, Bieter champions libraries, working to build a network of branches across his hometown. And Thursday morning, he helped swing open the doors of the Library at Bown Crossing, the fifth branch in Boise library network (including the main branch on Capitol Boulevard).

Seven years in the planning, the 16,000-square-foot Bown Crossing branch is unlike any of the others, with its spectacular fireplace, 28 public computers, multiple study and meeting rooms, and 40,000 lending items. The building also has several sustainability features.

Elected officials stepped aside to let City of Boise department heads cut the ribbon to open the Library at Bown Crossing. - GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
  • Elected officials stepped aside to let City of Boise department heads cut the ribbon to open the Library at Bown Crossing.
"I tasked our design team, [Portland, Ore.-based FFA Architecture and Interiors, Inc.] with several design challenges. No. 1, bring the outside in and the inside out," said Library Director Kevin Booe, pointing to the new library's huge picture windows facing the Boise Foothills. "Plus, we have state-of-the-art stormwater management. We're hoping to add solar panels; and there's a dashboard inside the building for you to see how our energy is being used. Some of the building's  environmentally friendly insulation even includes recycled blue jeans; so, we have transparent walls in the children's section so the kids can see the jeans."

Meanwhile, Booe and Bieter have their sights set on the next big library project, the biggest in the history of Boise. Bieter confirmed the effort is underway to build a new main library on Capitol Boulevard (where the main branch is now).

"We're going to make it happen," said Bieter. "It should be about a $50 to $60 million effort. We're scoping the project right now. We're looking for philanthropy and digging into the city budget. Our main goal is to have a new main library open by 2020."

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