Anchorage’s historic city hall to become public library

Anchorage’s historic city hall will soon become a downtown library. (Wesley Early/Alaska Public Media)

Anchorage’s historic city hall will become a new downtown public library.

Mayor Dave Bronson made the announcement at a news conference Thursday at the building on 4th Avenue.  

The city’s former downtown library closed in 1986. Bronson said most of the funding for the project comes from Janet Goetz, a longtime advocate of the city’s library who died in 2010. 

“Not having any children, she generously bequeath $7.2 million in a trust with the Anchorage Library Foundation for the express purpose of establishing a downtown library,” Bronson said. “That trust has grown to approximately $12.5 million.”

Bronson said the funding from the trust will go towards salaries for the library’s employees, while the renovation funding will come from a $2.5 million COVID relief grant approved by the Legislature. He said the city doesn’t have a current cost estimate for the total renovation, which will also involve expanding the building to over 2,000 square feet. Another $700,000 from a Parks and Recreation bond will fund a renovation of the nearby Peratrovich Park, complementing the library renovation.

Flanked by historic photographs and art exhibits, Bronson said the new library is part of an effort to revitalize Anchorage’s downtown. 

“The restoration of old city hall and the creation of the downtown library will not only preserve our historical roots, but will also provide a hub for learning culture, community activity for locals and visitors to enjoy for many years to come,” Bronson said.

Bronson expects the downtown library to open by the start of 2026.

Wesley Early covers Anchorage life and city politics for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at and follow him on X at @wesley_early. Read more about Wesley here.

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