Everything we do we do in support of the mission of the Juneau Public Libraries.
In 1891 local public library service began in Juneau with the formation of a library association. The Juneau Memorial Library, dedicated to war veterans, was built in 1951 for $82,000 through a community wide effort. The library operated in this building until 1988, when it outgrew the space. Buildable land in Juneau is scarce, and an innovative and inexpensive solution was found by constructing a new facility on top of a parking garage, which is still home to the downtown facility. Juneau enjoys two other public library facilities, one on the island community of Douglas and another in the Mendenhall Valley, known for its retreating glacier. In October 2015 we opened a new building in the Mendenhall Valley, with a $1.1M donation from the Friends of the Juneau Public Library.
The mission of the Juneau Public Libraries (JPL) is to be an open door to exploration and lifelong learning, providing free access to shared resources and programs that entertain, enlighten, and educate. JPL is dedicated to collaborating with other organizations to run community wide programming. We have coordinated several large national grant projects, including a StoryCorps@Your Library grant (funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services) focused on Alaska Native voices, a Science on Screen grant (funded by the Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation) to increase STEM learning, and the Great Stories Club (funded by the American Library Association), a book club for underserved and at-risk youth.
The library has enhanced resources to serve minority and underserved segments of our population, including at-risk teens, people experiencing homelessness, Alaska Natives, Spanish speakers, and low income children. Because of this work, JPL was a finalist for the 2016 National Medal, awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Service for outstanding institutions that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities.
In FY16 the library held 601 programs with 16,248 attendees, many of these programs are made possible by gifts from the Friends of the Juneau Public Library.