Library Services in Niagara Falls began in 1814 when an association
of citizens founded the Grand Niagara Library. The fledgling library
consisted of 40 books. Through the 19th Century, the operation
expanded and moved to a number of locations that included the
Third Street School, the Frontier Mart and the Arcade Building
on Falls Street. Significant progress was made from 1850 to 1898
under James F. Trott, "father of Niagara Falls Schools;"
Trott led the way for application for a New York State charter.
On February 28, 1895, Melvil Dewey signed the library's legal
Charter for the State Education Department, and the Niagara Falls
Public Library was officially opened.
A new library building was constructed in 1904 with the generous
help of a $50,000 grant from Pittsburgh Steel magnate and philanthropist,
Andrew Carnegie. The spacious new building with marble floors
and a collection of over 13,000 volumes, was located on Main Street
and Ashland Avenue, and would serve the community for seventy
years. By the 1960's, when the city reached its greatest population
(101,063 in 1961) the collection began to overflow onto the floor
and thoughts turned to building a larger facility.
On March 9, 1974, the stunning new Earl W. Brydges building,
designed by Paul Rudolph, became the new home of the Niagara Falls
Public Library. Located on Main Street at Lockport Road, this
remains the facility that houses the City's main library.
When the village of LaSalle became part of the city of Niagara
Falls in 1927, its Library already had a home -- two small rooms
in the picturesque village hall on Buffalo Avenue, a facility
that it shared with a post office and a police station. The post
office and police station eventually moved out, and the library
took over the space, almost doubling its size. The facility continues
to be the LaSalle branch of the Niagara Falls Public Library.