The Chamber Houses the First Public Library

Today marks the opening of the first public library in Denver in 1884. Chamber leaders aimed to attract well-read and educated citizens as well as promote local businesses and banks. Thus, Denver’s first library was born.

That first public library was hosted in the shiny new building on the 4th floor of the Chamber of Commerce, known as the Mercantile Library of the Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber housed the library until 1898, when it moved from control of the Chamber to a board of directors appointed by the mayor. That year alone, 126,307 books were lent, it was open for 310 days and 124,000 people used the reading room.

Today, as a place that is free for all, the library has over 4 million people visit a year, checking out nine million items. And, it has a collection on the Chamber if you ever want to read about our founding!

Did you know the Chamber partnered with the Denver Public Library to showcase the Chamber’s 150 years of doing business? Visit the seventh floor at the Denver Public Library to check out our exhibit and challenge what you know about the Chamber. This exhibit runs through October 29, 2017.

Laura James is the marketing and communications coordinator for the Denver Metro Chamber.