Education is a powerful thing. It is one of the most important things Ezra Meeker, our Puyallup pioneer, valued highly. The power of education not only enhances literacy, it creates inspiration and imagination. It can not only inspire yourself but help inspire others.
Before Puyallup was even a city, there has always been a library. Before the land cut down to a manageable level by Ezra Meeker, his wife Eliza Jane was lending out books from Puyallup’s Pioneer Park. She always knew the value of acquiring knowledge and that is why she would lend the books out of her cabin. Puyallup was growing fast, however, and the process of her lending out the books was becoming more difficult. Soon after several businessmen (8) got together with funds of $5,000 to form the Puyallup Library Association. They expanded the book lending efforts greatly. This new enhancement allowed them to hire their first librarian, Francis McCoy, who was paid $25 per month.
The first Puyallup Library was created by a grant that the City Council applied for. The City Council was persuaded/pushed by the local citizens to apply for it. During the beginning of the century about 3,000 Carnegie Libraries were built. Millionaire Andrew Carnegie was financing many of the public libraries during that period. This grant was one of the those opportunities and Puyallup was eventually successful. The initial library cost $12,500 and the City Council had to pledge $1,250 annually for supporting the new Puyallup Library. With the permission from Ezra Meeker, the library was built in the now Pioneer Park we all know today. Ezra donated the Pioneer Park with the agreement that it would only be used as a park, thus his permission was required before the library construction could be started. In 1913 the 4000 sq. ft. library opened and continued to serve the community for 50 years. Eventually, it just couldn’t support the growing community and the building was wearing down. The weight of the books were struggling to support all the books and it was declared unsafe.
A new building was proposed. Voters approved a new bond and with that a new library would be built. The cost was $210,000 and 11,622 square feet. The building was bigger, better, and much more modern. Puyallup’s population continue to grow rapidly it went from 12,450 to 30,740 people and the library items continued to grow as well. In 1962 it was more than just books now. The Puyallup library had computers, DVD’s, cd’s, and talking books. The rooms were always occupied with students and business meetings. In short, the library needed to grow to meet the demands of the city, students, rental items, and the growth of the city of Puyallup.
Another bond was presented to the voters and it passed on Sept. 14th 1999. The new building would be 39,500 sq. ft. Crowds came from all over Puyallup to witness the new opening of the library. It was a celebration and the people were anxious to experience it. The new Puyallup Public Library we know today has lots of space. It supports enough space for 150,000 books, 150,000 books, 20,000 videos, 12,000 talking books, and 10,000 cd’s. The also have computers which help and supports the process of finding more knowledge not only in the library but via the Internet. They have book meeting rooms and also studying rooms which can be used by students. Throughout the building you’ll find lots of tables for studying and friendly helpers. In 2009 during their first 4 months, the library lent out approx. 41,000 items per month.
The Puyallup Public Library is a must visit being a resident of Puyallup. It offers so much to the community. Not only the knowledge it provides but events as well. In Oct 2015, they have readings, public movie events, and award winning authors who you can meet in person.
Some of their programs include the Puyallup Festival of Books program. They have a full calendar of events on their site which are quite popular. On Oct 23rd and 24th 2015, they have the third annual Memories of Valor event. The Library has adult programs where you can get a guide to understand the communities history better. Volunteers help with this effort by using old photographs, year books, and other information which dates all the back to the 1900’s. There are also computer classes available for both adults and younger students. Kids’ Programs are available which focuses on making learning fun. More is available here but one of the more recent programs is called STREAM which stands for Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art and Math. The program is hands on with the goal of using activities to make it fun to learn. Other kid events include a Mad Scientist Library Lab, Chain Reactions, and Technology Exploration. They also have children authors who visit and storytelling events. The kids have a great time and love the activities. These events change all the time so you’ll want to check back on their website often to see what is new at the Library. Lastly, the Puyallup Library has weekly programs for teens throughout the school year. These include movie days, creative art events, comic book events, the Anime Club, gaming, and crafting events.
The Puyallup Public Library offers online tools also to help Puyallup residents find the information they are looking for 24/7. You can search by keyword, book, or author to get the information you’re looking for at the comfort of your home.
Address: 324 S Meridian, Puyallup, WA 98371 (in Pioneer Park)
The park which includes the library is known as Pioneer Park. It features the statue of Ezra Meeker and the ivy location where the Meeker’s cabin once stood. Puyallup’s concert in the park is held here each year. The community really comes together for the musical events (Thursday nights). They bring lawn chairs, dance, and eat from many of the food vendors. The Park also holds the Pioneer Pavilion. The space is often used for the Famer Markets and also rented out for Weddings or special events. The newest attraction is the Kiwanis Kids Spray Park.