The origins of the Kalamazoo Public Library were humble. In 1860 the local school district inherited 123 volumes from a failed township library. With that tiny collection, a library was opened for a single hour per week, its use limited to students of the school district and their parents. It grew through the Civil War years until it had 2,800 books, and opened to the general public on 12 October 1872. From that modest beginning, Kalamazoo Public Library has continued to grow until it now offers 120,000 people almost 400,000 books and a variety of other media from five buildings. The library continued to function under the direction of the board of education for more than a century until 1990, when voters agreed to form a district library which would function under its own board of trustees.