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Financial Institution Libraries

Commercial bank libraries have existed since the early 1900s with the first major bank library begun by First National City Bank, now Citicorp, in 1907. While only a small percentage of the nation's more than 14,000 banks have libraries, it is noteworthy that 17 of the 20 largest banks in the U.S. do have libraries. The idea ofhav­ ing a bank library didn't seem to spread until 1918 but then ex­ panded in many directions. The following list' showing the founding year for a bank's library gives a view of when the idea reached vari­ ous cities: Morgan Guaranty (New York) 1918; Wells Fargo (San Francisco) 1918; Chase Manhattan (New York) 1919; Continental­ Illinois (Chicago) 1919; Shawmut Bank of Boston 1920; Security Pacific (Los Angeles) 1920; National City Bank of Cleveland 1933; National Bank of Detroit 1940; Valley National Bank (Phoenix) 1948; Northwest Bancorp (Minneapolis) 1952; Seattle-First Na­ tional Bank (Seattle) 1968. The concept spread to the far West early and San Francisco and

Los Angeles bank libraries were introduced in the 1920s. Bankers are a closely-knit group and ideas often spread rapidly. It is interest­ ing to note, however, that the introduction of bank libraries through­ out the country was sporadic and bank libraries were not begun in the Northwest until 1968. Some banks did have employee reading rooms that were started

much earlier but this article concerns itself only with the research type of library which provides some form of active service to the in­ stitution. In recent years, the financial field has changed considerably and

Jeanette M. Privat is the Assistant Vice President and Manager, Library Seattle-First Na­ tional Bank.