The Bovill Library opened in 1990 and was housed in Bovill’s City Hall for nine years. The opportunity to expand library space arose in 1997 when the historic St. Joseph’s Catholic Church was put on the market. The church building had been moved from Elk River in the 1930s, when the population there dwindled after the Clearwater Timber Company closed.
The Bovill Library Historic Building Preservation Committee formed and began a fundraising campaign. The building was purchased with the assistance of grants from the Idaho Heritage Trust, support from community members and former parishioners, and sponsorship from the descendants of Mabel and De Witt White. This project was also the first to receive proceeds from an endowment created by Washington Water Power, now Avista Utilities, to benefit preservation projects in their service area. The facility opened for business in July 1999, after many hours of volunteer labor in renovations and upgrades. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.