A group of volunteers founded the Salem Public Library in 1904. Since then, it has catered to book lovers and information enthusiasts in Salem, Oregon.

Salem Public Library Timeline

Get to know the history of the Salem Public Library with this simplified timeline:

  • 1904 – This year marks the foundation of Salem Public Library by a group from the Salem Women’s Club.
  • 1904 to 1911 – The library first stayed at the City Council Chambers for the City of Salem’s corner. It was operated by the founders during this period.
  • 1912 – The City of Salem took over during this year, making it into a department of the city. In the same year, the library was given its own building, thanks to a generous donation of Andrew Carnegie.
  • 1957 – This year gave way to the birth of West Salem City, which was first housed in the old West Salem City Hall.
  • 1972 – Moved to its new and current home at 585 Liberty St. SE, together with the Salem City Hall
  • 1995 – New location for the West Salem Branch at 395 Glen Creek Road, NW

Today, the Salem Public Library is a successful library that provides services to almost 160,000 residents. The Main Library is open 53 hours every week, while the West Salem Branch is accessible 16 hours weekly. Current, there are more than 400,000 materials available in the library where patrons can find anything from books, audio books, magazines, CDs, and DVDs. People in Salem like to read and it is estimated that over 1.3 million items are being borrowed by the residents every year.

Aside from books and the other materials mentioned above, Salem Public Library also offers computers that can be used by the patrons through reservations. There are also programs for all teens, young adults, and adults – there really is something for everyone.

For community groups and professionals that require a space for corporate events, the library also offers meeting rooms. There is also one auditorium for rent that can house large gatherings. For art lovers, the library also has displays every month. These art exhibits come from artists in the local and regional areas. There is also a permanent art collection that will surely impress the art aficionados.

The Salem Public Library receives support from Friends of the Salem Public Library, Salem Public Library Foundation, and the Library Advisory Board, allowing it to provide competent and efficient service to the residents of Salem.