I Wonder: Why does the library have the "!" on it?

I Wonder: Why does the library have the

Credit: Courtesy City of Boise

The Boise Public Library's large white sign got a little something extra thanks to a local business owner.

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by Don Day KTVB.COM

Bio | Email | Follow: @DonLDay

KTVB.COM

Posted on October 25, 2009 at 2:56 PM

I wonder why the sign on the Boise public library has an exclamation point after the word "Library?" Can you shed any light on this?- Jeremy Clark via e-mail

"What's the story behind the Library! Emphasis on the ! "- Dancinbackwards via Twitter

In 1995, the Boise Public Library put up a pair of new signs on the outside of the main branch on Capitol Boulevard. The five foot tall white letters stood in stark contrast to the brick building -- and made a rather simple statement: LIBRARY.

Flying Pie owner Howard Olivier moved to Boise about ten years earlier and became a big fan of the library. When he saw the stark new sign -- he decided it needed something with a little more... pizzazz. And pizzazz -- or rather pizza... just happens to be his business.

Olivier owns Flying Pie Pizza, which has two local locations.

He went to the library with a proposal: Flying Pie would like to buy two exclamation points to match the rest of the sign.

After a little bit of convincing, Olivier placed an order with the sign company for the punctuation -- and had the marks installed.

Now, nearly 13 years later, the library has embraced the exclamation point for more than just signage. The brand now adorns just about everything the library puts out -- from pamphlets to its website to the new neighborhood libraries.

Flying Pie says the small $1500 investment has paid major dividends

"We haven't regretted it for a second," marketing director Lesley Juel said. "It's something that is a genuine sentiment: it's not just a normal library, it's a fantastic library."

Olivier said not everyone agreed with the excited sentiment at first.

"There was a long time where there (where) thoughts on both sides," he said. "Of any five people, one hates the signs. About six months after they went up, someone asked when they are coming down."

Some thought the signs didn't set a serious enough tone for the facility, but Joanne Hinkel with the library says the signage on the outside actually helps describe what happens on the inside.

"It really does capture the fact that a library is a vibrant exciting place that has a lot going on," she said. "There's a lot of interactive programs, computers and latest information."

Flying Pie's donation has not only helped boost the library's image -- but given the "whirled famous" pizzeria continued publicity

"Cab drivers tell the story about eight times a day when bringing people in," Olivier said. "It was a huge positioning piece for us."

Juel says the donation has become a part of local lore -- it's mentioned on the Boise Tour Train, and she even had a potential employee ask about it.

Olivier has a about the signs on FlyingPie.com -- and says his reputation has changed over the years.

"I joked that if the people who knew me growing up heard that I was adding punctuation to public signs, they might well assume that it was graffiti."

Have an "I wonder" question you want answered? E-mail and we'll dig for an answer. Please include your name and city. You can also ask on Twitter - we're @KTVB.

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