Smithfield citizens have been dedicated to library service since pioneer days when a library was formed by the LDS Church's Smithfield Ward Sunday School in 1868. The movement started when a group of Sunday School teachers raised some money for this purpose with a series of dances and some donations. The total proceeds from these two fund raisers came to $237.79. Francis Sharp was the librarian with a salary of a five cent fee, per month, from each person who used the library. However, not everyone paid as he averaged a little over $1.00 per month.
On February 3, 1915, Smithfield City appointed a committee to investigate the possibility of building a library. A temporary reading room was opened in the LDS Church's Smithfield Second Ward tithing office building in 1917, with Hazel Miles as librarian.
During this time the commission was in contact with the Carnegie Corporation in New York. A local architect, Fred J. Hodgeson, gave an estimated cost for a suitable buidling at $20,000. The Carnegie Corporation made a grant of $12,000, with the city pledging the balance. A prominent site for the new building was chosen at Main and Center, a piece of ground which carries many cherished memories down through the years for Smithfield citizens. This new Carnegie library building was opened on December 3, 1922.
The spirit that prompted a sunday school library has never dimmed in our community. After many years of discussing the need to increase the size of the library, Smithfield City broke ground on an addition to the Smithfield Carnegie Library in May 2014. The addition was designed by Skyline, AES Inc and built by Landmark Companies. The addition was completed in November 2014 and dedicated on June 1, 2015.
From those modest beginnings we have moved steadily forward in providing library services for the community. Besides the many services available, in 1932, Smithfield City acquired the art collection of the pioneer artist Mary Teasdale, which is housed in our library. The libraries art collection consists of 32 Mary Teasdale oils along with many other paintings of noted artists.
Countless individuals and groups of people could be listed who have given considerable money and many hours of service towards the growth of the library. Thanks to them all, and may we continue on with their noble tradition.
More Information about Andrew Carnegie and Carnegie Libraries:
SMITHFIELD PUBLIC LIBRARY, 2015
photo credit: Jaren Thayne Photography
SMITHFIELD PUBLIC LIBRARY, 2005
SMITHFIELD PUBLIC LIBRARY, date unknown