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On January 22, 1864, the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Utah created the first Ogden Library Board. Because there was no provision allowing local governments to levy a specific tax in support of a public library, local businessmen and public-spirited citizens provided funding for Ogden’s first library.
Reading material was hard to come by in those pre-railroad days and space for a library was equally scarce. For several years, materials were moved from place to place as the demand for shelving and reading areas increased. The collection was built around a strong core of periodicals and reference works of great value to students, businessmen, and politicians who, in order to participate effectively in the intellectual life of the community, felt a need to develop their reading, writing, and oratorical skills. There were several debating societies in town, and in 1868, the Ogden Library Board actually changed its name to the Ogden Literary and Debating Society. The following year, the name was shortened to the Ogden Library Society.
When the fire station, located in the south side of City Hall, was moved to a new facility, the old fire station was secured as an expanded space for the library. The new location increased interest and use. Families coming to town tethered their animals at the feedlot near the building and went their separate ways, agreeing to meet by the horses when their shopping was finished. It wasn’t long before those who finished early found the library was a nice place to sit and read while they waited.