Boise Library(!) will amp up its famous exclamation points with new signs


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There won’t be a new downtown branch of the Boise Public Library any time soon. But the existing building will get some new signage… !

The library moved into the old Salt Lake Hardware building on Capitol Blvd. in 1973. The building dates to 1946, and its exterior appearance carries on the look of a warehouse.

In 1995, the City of Boise first added large exterior signs to the building: LIBRARY, they read. The then-owner of Boise’s Flying Pie Pizza saw the large, government-like signs and thought they needed some pizazz. So Howard Olivier made a pitch to city officials: add exclamation marks.

Olivier paid to pop up the peppy punctuation. Pizazz from the pizza pie people.

Back in 2009, Olivier told me the signs weren’t popular at first.

“There was a long time where there (were) thoughts on both sides,” he said. “Of any five people, one hates the signs. About six months after they went up, someone asked when they are coming down.”

Now the city will double down on the declarative devices. They’ll replace the existing 1995-era signs with new, slightly larger versions — with that famous exclamation point of course. They’ll also add a third sign that can be seen by folks coming up 8th St. from the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial.

In our 2009 interview, Olivier said the declarative device became a calling card for the book barn.

“It really does capture the fact that a library is a vibrant exciting place that has a lot going on,” she said. “There’s a lot of interactive programs, computers and latest information.”

Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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