The library is responsible for fulfilling the informational, recreational and cultural needs of the community by providing access to a balanced collection of materials in a variety of formats for the community.
Two skid shacks adjacent to the Kodiak Community Center housed the Kodiak Community Library when it was founded in 1946. Years of volunteer operation and minimal city financing followed. In 1953 the Kodiak Public Library Association was established, and this group, along with the City of Kodiak and other interested community organizations and citizens, saw the library move into a small building on the downtown school grounds in 1956. About this time the Rotary Club purchased a site which was deeded to the City of Kodiak for the future home of a new library. On December 8, 1968, the new A. Holmes Johnson Memorial Library was dedicated and named for a local physician who had long been a champion of library service in Kodiak. The building was the result of a blend of Federal, City, and donated funds. The original building, costing $245,000, was expanded with the addition of the audio-visual wing in 1977, the children's wing in 1984, and the Alaska reference room in 1993.
In the late 1990s early discussions and planning began for building a new public library. By 2004 strategic efforts were underway for identifying building needs as the City contracted with design firm USKH, Inc. of Anchorage to conduct a space needs assessment. Thanks to the dedication of several municipal city and borough leaders, community residents, library staff, and, members of the revitalized Kodiak Public Library Association a rigorous pre-development process sponsored by the Rasmuson Foundation and facilitated by The Foraker Group began in May 2009. By April 2010 City Council passed Resolution No. 2010-11, "Supporting the City-owned the "Barn Site" as the preferred location for a new public library."
In October 2013, the A. Holmes Johnson Memorial Library on Lower Mill Bay Road officially closed. The Kodiak Public Library on Egan Way opened its doors in December 2013. The passage of time has not changed the library's commitment to serving the informational and recreational needs of the community in a vibrant, responsive way.
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