The Clark Fork branch of the East Bonner County Free Library District opened its doors in January 1985. It has been a community projected, conceived by a group who wanted to move the private library started by Emma Rathbun, owner of the Clark Fork Mercantile (sadly no longer in business) out of the Merc basement and into a facility where it would be more accessible. After meetings with the library Board, who gave the go-ahead for a branch library, the group arranged for the vocational carpentry class to build a library on property provided by the City of Clark Fork. Fundraisers of all kinds were planned, materials were donated or made available at cost, the land was prepared, and construction started in October 1984.
Upon completion of the construction, the building was deeded to the City of Clark Fork. In January 1985, the doors were opened with a grand celebration featuring Paul Croy and Pat McManus. The collection that was on the shelves included some of the books from the "on-your-honor" library that operated out of the basement of the old Mercantile as well as many more items that were moved to the new library branch from the main library in Sandpoint.
In the ensuing years, the branch has grown by leaps and bounds. It has become computerized and, in 1995, eight feet were added to the length of the building. When the expanded building was reopened, usage quadrupled! We have now moved into our new building at 601 Main Street and usage continues to increase dramatically.
The branch provides public use computers for word processing, CD-ROM programs, and the Internet, with one computer dedicated to use by children. Services include children's Storytime (during the school year), Youth Summer Reading, help getting acquainted with computers, and limited Outreach services. Our new facility allows us to offer public meeting rooms for community use as well as room for an expanded collection of all types, from books to periodicals to audio-visual materials.
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