Happy Birthday Howe Branch!

Albany’s John A. Howe Branch Library opened its doors at the corner of Schuyler and Broad Streets in the South End for the first time on Oct. 29, 1929.

The Georgian structure was designed by Albany architect Howard Rogers. The building was constructed of Harvard brick with Indiana limestone and cost $106,800.

The branch library was named for John A. Howe, who was principal of School 1 in the 1890s. The Howe Branch was one of four public libraries in Albany in 1929.

Here’s a snapshot of what life at the Howe Branch was like that day 81 years ago:
+ The library had a staff of 6 librarians
+ There were 15,000 books in the building
+ Special collections in German, Italian, Polish, Yiddish, and Syrian languages helped the neighborhood’s many foreign immigrants
+ Each weekly story hour attracted more than 100 kids from the nine schools in the South End

The “Howe Library” was originally established in 1891 at the corner of Alexander and South Pearl Streets. It became a free library in 1893. The library moved to its own building at the corner of Bassett and South Pearl Streets in 1899. The building at Schuyler and Broad Streets was built in 1929.

The Howe Branch underwent a $5.2 million renovation and addition in 2009, and enjoyed a grand re-opening in March 2010.

The Main Library houses a wonderful local history collection, for anyone interested in learning more about the historic Howe Branch Library and other pieces of Albany history.

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