Bainbridge Library History

A small library above the Island's Port Madison mill store in 1863 was the second community library on Puget Sound.  Ladies' society "silver teas" supported small libraries on the island during the first half of the twentieth century.  Since 1947, Kitsap Regional Library has supplied books and other materials as well as staff and administrative support for the Bainbridge Library.

1960 Rotary Auction checkAs the island population grew, citizens realized that the community needed a larger library.  In 1960 the first Rotary Auction, a community-wide garage sale that is now an island tradition, was held to raise money for the new library.  Many other civic groups including the Kiwanis Club, island businesses and countless individuals contributed toward the library building.  Island architect John Rudolph drew up the plans for the building that was completed in 1962.  Thanks to the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. James Hodges, a children's library was created in 1968 on the lower floor of the library.

The library facility continues to be maintained by donations from generous islanders.  An addition completed in 1982 expanded the library's capacity, but this building did not meet the needs of a growing community by the 1990's.  An enormous effort by the Board and Building Campaign Committee raised almost 2 million dollars to expand and totally remodel the facility.

Afte the current library opened, Junkoh Harui and the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community donated a magnificent garden to the library.  The Northwest-Japanese garden, "Haiku no Niwa" was dedicated to the Issei generation of Japanese Americans.  A remarkable team of volunteers led by nationally recognized garden writer Ann Lovejoy maintains the Bainbridge Public Library Gardens.  In 2000, the American Library Association awarded the Bainbridge Public Library Gardens its Best Library Garden award. 

Books and other resources about Bainbridge Island Libraries

They Like Noble CausesAccording to the book, "They Like Noble Causes" by Barbara Winther, the Bainbridge Public Library history starts "...on a cloudy morning in 1913" in the town of Winslow.  If you'd like to read the complete history, you can find it in the Bainbridge Library (ISBN: 0655115284).  A short version of the history, written by David James, can be read by clicking here.
Rolling Bay Library - abt 1915
1935 Rolling Bay Library - bridge booklet
Walt Woodward on the new library