The library had it’s beginning in 1940 when a group of twenty-five local women met and organized themselves as the Grace Literary Club. In their constitution and by-laws, $50 was set aside each year toward a community library. By the end of the first year, the organization had collected twenty-five books. Each year the collection increased in size and was housed in private dwellings until it grew to such a large number that it became necessary to locate other facilities. The collection was then housed in the mezzanine of a local department store, and from there to the old high school library. In 1952, the old Mortgage and Loan Building became available at no cost to the club; and with extensive cleaning and painting, all volunteer labor, the building was improved and the collection was moved with Mrs. Opal Taylor as the librarian.
In 1955, the Idaho Legislature passed S.B. 124, the Library Enabling Act, allowing library districts to be formed; and through the efforts of the Grace Library Club members, who took petitions to the local residents to get the required signatures needed. An election was held on August 16,1955, and passed. The Grace Free Library District was formed from the third commissioner’s district and had the distinction of becoming the first free library district in the state of Idaho. At this time, the Grace Literary Club turned over to the new Grace Free Library District all of its assets consisting of books, cash, and furniture totaling approximately $4000.00, and Mrs. Alice Sorenson was hired as the Librarian.
The library remained in this building while the new library board set aside a certain amount of money each year toward the future purchase of a larger building. In 1958 when the old Medford home came up for sale, the library board purchased the building and the library was relocated in the new building that same year. The library was located in this building until 1972 when the Bannock State Welfare Building came up for sale. Through grant moneys available from the Idaho State Library, Library Services and Construction Act, community efforts were matched, and the library board was able to purchase and remodel the building with the help of community members who gave generously of their time, money, labor, and cooperation. The building was purchased from the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints, remodeled, painted, carpeted and opened for business on November 1, 1972 with Joyce Fowler as the librarian. In 1992, the building had new siding and windows installed; and in 1996, the roof was re-shingled.
Today the library remains an attractive, functional addition to the community of Grace. Since 1993, Linda Rasmussen has served as the library director, and Margo May as the assistant librarian. Circulation has continued to grow annually with over 48,000 total transactions during 2000 and approximately 2000 registered borrowers in the community and surrounding areas. The library currently has three computers available to the public for word processing or Internet access along with one computer which has learning games and activities for the use of preschool and elementary age children. Most recently, the library collection has become available to patrons on-line as well as in-house.
The board of trustees and the staff would like to invite community members and visitors to stop by the library and take advantage of the materials and services available.