In 1893 a group of enthusiastic women formed an organization called the Fortnightly Club with the object of bringing together others interested in cultural pursuits.
The first of their projects was the donation of an assortment of books and the acquisition of a vacant room in a downtown store building where they opened Eugene’s first reading room. This project blossomed into a plan to establish a library.
They succeeded in interesting Andrew Carnegie, industrialist and philanthropist, and with the help of private gifts and the City of Eugene, the project came to great success with the establishment of Oregon’s first Carnegie Library at the corner of 11th Avenue and Willamette.
The Fortnightly Club’s 657 volumes became the nucleus of the Eugene Public Library collection. The Club continued to be important in gathering public support when the crowded and cramped Carnegie Library was replaced in 1959 with Eugene’s second library at 13th Avenue and Olive Street. The Fortnightly Club also funded the Library’s first bookmobile in 1959.
The Fortnightly Club continues to fund memorial books for the new Eugene Public Library and recently gifted a major window for the Library. Today’s library users thank the Fortnightly Club and those enthusiastic women from 1893 who began the planning for our community library in Eugene. They would be pleased with what they helped us build.