History of the Weippe Public Library
The first public library in Weippe, in reality, was not a library at all, but a service offered from a private home. In 1956, Miss King, librarian from Orofino, gave Mrs. Lowell Crouser sixty books and asked her to circulate them from her home. At this same time, the P.T.A. had discussed the possibility of sponsoring a public library and, with the assistance of the principal of the high school, Mr. Ed Optinger, they moved the books into a three room house which he owned and donated for use. With the help of volunteer labor and donations, book shelves were built, and, with the first collection of books (200 - including the sixty books from Orofino), the Weippe Public Library was opened for business on July 9, 1956.
Shortly thereafter, the Weippe Public Library was moved to a very small, abandoned building which at one time had been the town's jail and was located next to the fire shed. The library was financed entirely by donations and book fines; books were also loaned by the Orofino and Lewiston libraries. The first library board was appointed in 1958, comprised of individuals from the sponsoring organizations, namely the PTA, I.O.O.F. and the Rebekah Lodge.
The Library continued to serve the residents of Weippe until 1966, when a library district was formed by voter approval in the general election in Clearwater County. The first Clearwater County Free Library District Board of Trustees was appointed in 1968.
In the early 1970's, a vacant lot owned by the City of Weippe was traded to Clearwater County for the city property where the library was located. This trade not only benefited the Library District, but made it possible for the Weippe Fire Department to expand.
In 1982, the Library District acquired a building formerly known as Brown's Creek CCC Camp Barracks. The building was either constructed at, or moved to the Musselshell Work Center on the Clearwater National Forest in the 1940's. This building was placed on the Register of Historic Places on July 5, 1984. The building was moved into Weippe and set-up on the lot next to the old library. In 1983, surplus shelving, display cases and magazine racks from the Moscow Public Library were purchased. The building and shelving and cases sat idle until 1986 when the Library district received one grant from the Idaho State Library through Library Services and Construction Act funding and another grant from Aid Association for Lutherans through a local church organization. With the help of these grants and the persistent hard work and dedication of the area citizens, the conversion and remodeling of the USFS barracks into the Clearwater County Free Library was made possible. The remodeled library opened for business on March 10, 1986
After years of growth, the Weippe Library once again outgrew its walls. Through the work of the Friends of the Weippe Library and the City of Weippe, the former Assembly of God Church and lot was purchased in January 2002. Multiple grants and donations were received to assist with the purchase and renovation work of the new Weippe Discovery Center. On October 14, 2003, the library once again opened its doors for business in its new home. The Weippe Discovery Center also houses a College Outreach Center, Small Business Enhancement Center, expanded Technology Center, public restrooms and is a Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center.
Friends of the Weippe Library purchased the former Assembly of God Church in January 2002.
The Weippe Discovery Center, with the Public Library on the main floor, was completed in Summer 2004.