Frequently Asked Questions

Main Library

Why do we need a new Main Library?
Originally designed as a warehouse, the current Main Library building does not have sufficient space to offer contemporary library programs and services or meet the needs of a growing population:

  • Insufficient space for reading, meetings, and quiet work
  • No space for expanding the library collection or growing new technology initiatives
  • Limited parking

What will the new Main Library include?
To keep pace with evolving library practice and to meet the needs of a growing population, the new Main Library will include:

  • An expanded collection: The new Main Library will add 400,000 to 500,000 items, putting Boise on par with peer cities and providing more materials for the entire library system, including all branch libraries.
  • Space-saving technology: Boise will be the first public library to utilize an Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) to expand the collection for generations to come while saving 30k square feet of space for valuable community programming. Please note: even with this new tool, the new Main Library will still have plenty of stacks for casual browsing and discovery.
  • Maker spaces: There will be dedicated space for hands-on learning and creativity providing access to 3-D printers, laser printers, and other emerging technologies.
  • Indoor-outdoor spaces: Facing the River and Greenbelt, the new Library will engage two of Boise’s most beloved assets with a combination of indoor and outdoor spaces for community gathering, quiet study and reading, as well as collaborative public meeting spaces.
  • Three times more parking:Available parking will include 270 spaces at an off-site garage in close proximity and 30 on-site parking spaces for those who need it most.

How will the library handle service during construction?
The Boise Public Library plans to continue to service the public throughout the construction period and will post all changes of services to this site as well as the Boise Public Library website. Details of the construction plan are still in development.

Center for Arts & History

What will the Center for Arts & History include?
A community-based facility that invites residents and visitors to experience Boise’s public art, history and culture through exhibitions, performances, presentations and workshops.

  • Dedicated Cultural Information Center
  • Gallery Space
  • Boise City Archives
  • Care and Conservation Lab

Budget / Cost

What will the project cost and how will it be funded?
The project budget is $80 to $85 million; the funding plan includes:

  • City of Boise funding: $52 million
  • Philanthropy: $18 million
  • Urban renewal funds for parking and infrastructure: $15 million

Will the project raise taxes?
No. This project will not require an increase in city taxes.

Additional Information
The Boise City Council is considering a plan that would utilize capital and cash reserve funds over a 20-year period to cover the city's portion of the funding. This proposal would allow the city to save approximately $15 million in interest payments over the next twenty years and would allow the project to proceed without financing the project using bonds issued by the city's urban renewal agency.


What is the plan for parking at the new Library?
CCDC, the city's urban renewal agency, is putting together plans to finance a garage on 8th St. that would include approximately 270 spaces. The Library Campus would include approximately 30 parking spots for those that need it most. In all, the amount of parking would triple compared to what is currently available.

What will it cost to park in the new garage?
The city is still working with CCDC on the parking plan, with a goal of offering at least two hours of free parking to patrons.

Citizen Initiative / Vote

A citizen-led initiative recently gathered sufficient signatures to place an ordinance on the November ballot asking citizens if a vote should be required on any library project costing more than $25 million. If successful, this "vote on whether to vote" would require a subsequent ballot measure on the actual Library Campus project.

The City Council is considering whether to let the “vote to vote” proceed or to pass the initiative ordinance so that the Library Campus project can be placed on the ballot in November, bypassing the need for two elections.

A public hearing on the initiatives will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25 in the City Council Chambers at Boise City Hall, 150 N. Capitol Blvd. Following the public hearing, the council will consider how to proceed.


Why wasn’t a local architect hired?
The City of Boise cannot limit the pool of candidates to local applicants only. However, the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) published October 3, 2017 required that firms located outside of Idaho team up with a local architecture firm. Safdie Architects was selected as design lead with award-winning local design firm, CSHQA as executive architect.

Concept Design

Won’t all the glass on the south side result in frequent bird strikes/deaths?
Bird strikes are a common concern when designing and building with glass. Best practices for mitigating these strikes will be addressed in the schematic design phase of the project which focuses on building materiality, construction methodology, and architectural details. We are working in partnership with Intermountain Bird Observatory to ensure our architect and design teams understand the local habitat and will design a space that features and protects this valuable community asset.

Is the building going to be LEED certified (and if so, at what level)?
This project will meet city energy goals, take advantage of existing sustainable features such as geothermal heating, and demonstrate a commitment to the health of our community. Project consultants and global climate engineers Atelier Ten are developing a sustainability strategy that meets the project budget while achieving the highest level of environmental certification we can achieve. Details about the sustainability strategy will be available during the next round of public input.

Public Input

Has there been community outreach and input?

  • Public input has been solicited throughout 3 iterations of this project starting in 1996
  • 30 community presentations have been held since January 2017
  • The city held design thinking workshops in spring 2017, gathering valuable feedback from over 200 participants.
  • In July 2018, five open houses were held to gather public input of conceptual design
  • In excess of 1001 participants/comments have been received on the project.
  • Approximately 150 people attended the Feb 26th, 2019 Mayor and Council meeting with 44 people providing public testimony concerning the Log Cabin location

When will the next round of public input be scheduled?
The next round of public input will take place following the schematic design phase and include:

  • Interior renderings
  • Updated exterior renderings
  • Sustainability strategy and environmental impact
  • 8th Street calming methods

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