Courtesy: Lewis and Clark Library

HELENA- In 2018 the Lewis and Clark Library will celebrate its 150th anniversary.

The library first opened its doors in 1868 and was the first public library in the Montana Territory.

It opened as a subscription library, one where members were charged a fee for access.

The library was originally located on Last Chance Gulch. That location was destroyed by fire in 1874, but the library was quickly re-established.

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Helena citizens voted in 1886 to make the Helena Public Library a free library, becoming the first free public library in Montana.

In the mid-1970s the Helena Public Library was renamed the Lewis and Clark Library and became a joint city/county library. The library also added branches in Lincoln and Augusta during this time.

Library Director John Finn says that they’re always looking to update and expand their services to the community, but some things will always stay the same at the library.

“Libraries will always be about books and reading,” says Finn, “Even though there are new eBooks or digital formats we still collect hard copies at the same rate that we always had.”

The library has changed its logo for the year and is currently planning several events to celebrate the anniversary

For more information about the 150th anniversary and services the library offers, visit the Lewis and Clark Library website.