Built in 1914, the Garland Carnegie Library is one of 23 Carnegie libraries in Utah and one of over 1,650 library buildings in the United States that were built by millionaire/philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie donated the entire cost of the building on the condition that the town provide the land, books, librarian, and an annual maintenance budget. Although many small towns found it financially difficult to maintain their new libraries, much less improve their library services, Carnegie libraries were generally beneficial in the communities in which they were built. In addition to providing improved and expanded library services, Carnegie libraries established standards of library operation operation and building design which were used for many years in the construction of non-Carnegie libraries in other communities. The general contract for the building was awarded to the Newton Company of Ogden, Utah. Architects may have been Watkins and Birch, who designed the similarly-styled Carnegie library in Richmond. Watkins and Birch actively pursued Carnegie library design contracts throughout Utah and designed at least five that were built in Utah.
Built in 1914, the Garland Carnegie Library is significant as one of sixteen remaining Carnegie libraries of the twenty-three built in Utah. Thirteen of the sixteen library buildings maintain their original integrity and are included in the Carnegie Library Thematic Resource Nomination. In addition to making significant contributions to public education in their respective communities, these libraries are Utah’s representatives of the important nation-wide Carnegie library program, and they document its unparalleled effect in the establishment of community-supported, free public libraries in Utah.
The Garland Carnegie Library was built in 1914 with an $8,000 grant from millionaire/philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie funded the construction of over 1650 library buildings in the U.S., 23 of which were built in Utah communities. The conditions upon which all Carnegie grants were given were that the recipient community donate the building site and provide an annual maintenance budget of at least 10% of the grant amount.
The groundwork for the establishment of a library in Garland began around 1908, when a number of citizens began to promote the idea of a library in the town and prompted the organization of the Garland Library Board. In January 1912, secretary of the board, R.L. Bush, acting on behalf of the city, applied to and received from Andrew Carnegie a grant for $8,000 for the erection of a library building. It was noted in the Salt Lake Tribune that Garland was the first city in Box Elder County to be honored by the gift of a Carnegie library.
Actual construction of the library building did not begin until the spring of 1914. The general contract was awarded to the Newton Company of Ogden, Utah, and the plumbing and heating contracts were given to the Blumenthal Company of Provo, Utah. The architect of the Garland Carnegie Library is unknown, but the building closely resembles the Carnegie library in Richmond, so it is possible that the architects of that building, Watkins & Birch, also designed
this building, especially since they are known to have actively pursued Carnegie library design contracts and designed at least five that were built in Utah.
The Garland Carnegie Library was completed in November 1914 and dedicated on December 12, 1914. The dedication ceremony was postponed two weeks in order that it be held in connection with the dedication of the Bear River Stake Tabernacle (of the LDS church), which was built across the street to the west of the library. The library was dedicated on Saturday and the tabernacle on Sunday; both services were conducted in the new tabernacle. Speakers at the library dedication included Professor Howard R. Driggs of the University of Utah, and Epraim G. Gowans, state superintendent of public instruction. Mattie Strong was appointed librarian.
General maintenance expenditures of the new library building proved, at least for a time, to be a burden on the community. City officials felt that their old quarters (location unknown) had served them better than the large,
expensive Carnegie library. However, the building has continued in use to the present as the city library.
The basic form of the Garland Carnegie Library is similar to that of many of Utah’s Carnegie libraries. It is a one story brick rectangular building with a raised basement and a flat roof. A simple Classical Revival decorative scheme distinguishes the exterior, consisting of: the symmetrical arrangement of the façade with a central pavilion; the raised basement; the balanced arrangement of pilasters around the building, each distinguished by a capital that is a variant of the Ionic capital; and the pronounced cornice with dentils on the frieze topped by a parapet.
The façade is divided into five bays by pilasters, and has a projecting entrance pavilion centered between pairs of window bays. The main door may be original, but it is set into a panel of glass window cubes which probably reflects a 1930s alteration (exact date unknown). Each of the windows is two panes wide topped by a transom that is divided into four small glass panes. The ends of the building are two bays wide, also defined by pilasters, and there are two oblong three part windows per end. The rear of the building, like the façade, is divided into five bays. The pilasters along that wall, however, have no capitals and there are no distinctive decorative features on that side of the building. There are small square windows in four of the five bays, and a long, narrow window set into the central bay. There is a second
entrance into the library on the west side at the basement level.
The building is essentially unaltered, except for the change made to the main entrance. That change, however, is not significant, and does not affect the original integrity of the building.