Kenai Community Library

163 Main Street Loop
Kenai, AK 99611

907-283-4378

History:

The Kenai Community Library had its beginning in the hall of the Kenai Territorial School with a dedicated group of volunteers and a small collection of donated books. In 1949 a Board of Trustees was formally incorporated under the provisions of Chapter 6 of the Session Laws of 1933. The library collection was moved into the Civic Center when it was erected in 1954.

The Civic Center accommodated the City Hall, the Court System, social and civic groups, a church and the library. The library staff pushed the book stacks on dollies against the walls when the various groups met, then returned them to the center of the room to operate on Thursdays, the only day the library was open.

The library had been a volunteer organization existing on donations and fundraisers until 1968 when the City of Kenai contributed a $500 grant. In 1969 the City’s support increased to $3,500 with an annual salary of $450 for the librarian.

Following a request by the Board of Trustees, the City of Kenai assumed full responsibility for the library in 1972. The Board of Trustees remained in an advisory capacity and volunteers continued to provide thousands of hours to maintain the library operation and fund raising. The first 5000 square feet of the present building was constructed in 1976 using money from state and local sources. In 1985, a 5000 square foot addition was constructed using both federal and state funds. The City of Kenai funded the planning and design process.

Today the library employs a full time director and six employees. Volunteers continue to support the library by giving their time and also through fundraising. The library is located on Main Street Loop near the Kenai City Hall, the Post Office and the Court House. The Kenai Community Library is the largest library on the Central Peninsula with a collection of over 70,000 items. Centrally located off the Kenai Spur Highway the library serves the entire Peninsula community.

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