Utica Public Library
An extensive history within books
The origins of the Utica Library begin in the year 1825, when a private subscription library opened its doors at the Broad Street offices of Attorney Justus Rathbone. Over the years, the library underwent several relocations throughout the city while steadily expanding its now extensive collection. Utica’s first free public begin in 1838 once New York state established school district libraries. The growth of the city eventually brought a greater demand of services to the library, and calls for a new, permanent structure and location were made. Thomas R. and Frederick T. Proctor donate the land and W.P. White donates $1,000 to fund construction. The architectural design for the new building was created by Arthur C. Jackson of Carrère and Hastings. On May 3, 1903, the cornerstone was laid. It opened on December 12, 1904, and over 25,000 books were transferred from the previous location on Elizabeth Street.
A 5 year renovation program from 1988-1922 brought about structural and aesthetic improvements to the overall building, including handicapped accessibility, skylighting, a new roof, and a drainage system. A computer system was also installed, allowing both patrons and staff to access the entire inventory of all public libraries within the Mid-York Library System. Other notable recent technological additions include a new phone system in 1993, the opening of the Computer Room in 2004, a fire alarm system im 2005, installation of a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system in 2006, and the addition of storm windows in 2008.
How do you believe the development of the library has affected the city of Utica?
What do visitors come most often here for? Any interesting stories or visitors?
What notable events are hosted here?
What is your favorite aspect of working in the library?
For a newcomer that just aquired a library card, what do you reccomend doing in here?
What made you decide to become a librarian?
I noticed there are many historical books kept under lock and key, but yet displayed in glass cases to the public. Is the public able to read them? Do they document the history of the city?
The library a rather unique, grandiose structure as compared to the rest of the city. Are visitors interested in the history of the library and how it came to be?
What in Utica makes you proud?