150 Boise icons: !

awebb@idahostatesman.comJune 24, 2013 

boise icons, boise public library

Did you know? When sign crews installed the exclamation marks on the main branch’s two library signs in 1995, Howard Olivier asked them to wrap the entire signs like giant presents. Reporters turned out to cover the unveiling. Everyone ate cakes decorated with exclamation marks

DARIN OSWALD — doswald@idahostatesman.com Buy Photo

It has happened to more than a few of us. We have guests in from out of town. We take them on a stroll through the city. They catch a glimpse of Boise Public Library with its bold and exclamatory punctuation. The cameras come out.

Some love the exclamation mark. Some find it silly. Some wish the town would have a little more gravitas when it comes to things like library signs. Others think the exuberant mark is about right for a place where adults float down the river through the heart of town in the middle of the day in inner tubes.

By one account, the library's exclamation point reduced humorist David Sedaris to peals of laughter during one of his Boise visits.

The library's high-spirited punctuation is closely related to pizza. When longtime Flying Pie Pizza owner Howard Olivier moved to Boise in 1984, he fell in love with the Boise Public Library on Capitol Boulevard. Driving by one day, he spotted the newly installed illuminated "Library" sign on the building. He got the idea of taking the sign a step further.

After getting the library's approval, he donated not one, but two 5-foot illuminated exclamation marks. The library began using the image throughout its branches and publications. Sign up for a library card in Boise today, and your card will proclaim "Library!"

Anna Webb: 377-6431

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