About the Northwest Room
The Spokane Public Library is honored to house one of the finest and most extensive Northwest collections in the country.
Comprising over 13,000 items, this superb collection is readily available to the public during open hours. Most of the collection is searchable through the Library’s catalog. The collection consists of reference books, maps, directories, periodicals, government documents, and archival materials pertaining to the history, exploration, and settlement of the Northwest, or that region including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and the province of British Columbia. The Northwest Room offers information on every period from the late 1700’s to the present.
While there is emphasis on early voyages and overland expeditions, Indians, the fur trade, missions and pioneer life, materials on a wide variety of subjects such as flora and fauna, industries, biographies, art, and literature are also included. Personal journals and reminiscences, local histories, and descriptive materials are an important part of the continually growing collection. There is a small, but excellent photograph collection much of which was donated by Thomas Teakle who taught history for many years at Spokane’s Lewis and Clark High School. We invite you to browse our Digital Collections, where you will find over 1,000 digital images drawn from the archives of the Northwest Room.
The commitment to Northwest materials began with George W. Fuller, Spokane Public Library’s first librarian and author of a widely used history of the region. The current Fuller Collection includes old and rare materials, largely first editions of works. Gladys Smith Puckett, Library Director from 1937 to 1960, shared Fuller’s vision and continued to collect Northwest materials throughout her tenure. Commitment to the collection lives on. Today, Northwest materials and the Fuller collection are housed in a special climate-controlled room, designed especially for the purpose, at the Downtown Library. This room features two glass display cases, a small gallery for fine art, a reading and study area, a workroom for materials preservation, a vault for extremely old and rare materials, and light sensitive glass.