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Boise’s new Main Public Library campus will serve as our public center for knowledge, culture, and ideas. Co-located with the Boise City Department of Arts & History and an event space, it will be a gateway to the city, but also a gateway to our history, to new experiences, and to the ideas that will shape our future. Its spaces and services, located in the heart of Boise’s Cultural District, will be available to anyone yet distinct to our corner of the world.

The Building

  • 153,800 sq. ft. total building area 
  • New Library: Approx. 115,000 sq. ft. 
  • Department of Arts & History: Approx. 22,000 sq. ft. 
  • 400-seat Event Space: Approx. 18,000 sq. ft.
  • City Archives 
  • Retail Space 


Budget (GMP): Estimated $60-$70 million split between: 

  • Philanthropy (25%) 
  • Public Money (25%) 
  • Financing Tool (50%) 

The Architects

Moshe Safdie, FAIA

Lead: Safdie Architects

Safdie Architects is an architecture and urban design studio imbued with a spirit of idealism and innovation. The practice is research-oriented and forward thinking, drawing upon a depth of experience to solve contemporary building challenges in imaginative and unexpected ways. 

Safdie Architects is active in a wide variety of project types, scales and sectors, designing museums, cultural centers, libraries, housing, mixed-use developments, transportation centers and master plans in geographically and culturally-diverse places. The studio’s projects around the world have become beloved resources and symbols of their communities as well as regional and national landmarks. Recent library and civic projects include the Salt Lake City Public Library, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, and Vancouver Library Square.  


Architect of Record: CSHQA 

CSHQA is passionate about sustainable, energy-efficient design and creating healthy, enduring spaces for people in which to live, work and play. CSHQA are people who listen, creating design that speaks.

The award-winning design firm specializes in full-service architecture and engineering, interior and environmental design, landscape architecture, telecommunications, and building forensic services. Nearly 100 professionals design civic, education, multi-family, commercial, retail, hospitality, aviation and healthcare projects. Serving clients in all 50 states, CSHQA has offices in Boise, Denver, and Sacramento.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why now? 

Originally built in the 1940s as a hardware warehouse, the current Main Library was converted to a library in 1973. With increased attendance and program participation, the library services and space are no longer meeting our residents’ and visitors’ needs. 

What about parking? 

The design goal includes parking for approximately 300 spaces. The library currently has 102. The project team has not yet determined if the parking will be on or off-site. The design firm will help us determine pros and cons and feasibility for each option.


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