Dallas Public Library
|Location||1515 Young Street
|Access and use|
|Population served||1,281,047 (2014 Est.)|
|Budget||$31,177,105 (FY 2015-16)|
|Director||M. Jo Giudice|
In 1899, the idea to create a free public library in Dallas was conceived by the Dallas Federation of Women's Clubs, led by president Mrs. Henry (May Dickson) Exall. She helped raise US$11,000 from gifts from public school teachers, local businessmen, and Alfred Horatio Belo of The Dallas Morning News.
The library became a reality when Mrs. Exall requested and received a US$50,000 grant from philanthropist and steel giant Andrew Carnegie to construct the first library building in Dallas. On October 22, 1901, the Carnegie library opened at the corner of Harwood and Commerce streets with a head librarian, three assistants, and 9,852 volumes. The first story held the entire collection; the second floor held the Carnegie Hall auditorium and an Art Room. The art room was the first public art gallery in Dallas and eventually became what is known today as the Dallas Museum of Art.
An Oak Cliff branch opened in 1914 to serve the citizens of the area, annexed into Dallas in 1903. Four more branches opened in the 1930s including the Paul Lawrence Dunbar Library, which was the first to serve the African American population of Dallas.
In World War II, the library was fully established as a War Information Center. By 1950, the library resources and facilities were stretched to the limit, so supporters formed an auxiliary organization called the Friends of the Dallas Public Library to lobby for better library services.
By the 1950s, the Carnegie Library was badly deteriorating and overcrowded, and a new modern library was built on the same site. During construction, the Library was housed temporarily on the mezzanine of Union Station. The new building, now known as Old Dallas Central Library, had room for over 400,000 volumes and opened in 1954.
Growth: 1960 to 2000
During the 1960s and 1970s, the Dallas Public Library added 17 branches to the system. In 1962, Lillian M. Bradshaw was named Library Director, the first woman to head a department in the City of Dallas, marking a milestone in the civil rights and women's liberation movements of that era. Days after she was put into office, she faced a censorship push from a Dallas council-member, but the community and media rallied to her defense. The City Council, in response, overwhelmingly approved her appointment and passed a resolution not to censor books purchased by the library.
By the 1970s, the Central Library had again become overloaded and was unequipped to handle emerging technology. (This was partly a result of the federal Library Services and Construction Act, which had enabled the addition of an unexpected number of volumes to the collection in a relatively short period of time.) In 1972, the City selected a 114,000 square feet (10,600 m2) site at Young and Ervay across from the Dallas City Hall for a new central library facility. In 1982, the technologically sophisticated structure opened its doors. It was one of the first libraries in the nation to include an Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) and state-of-the-art audiovisual capabilities. It was renamed the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in 1986 in honor of the former mayor who played a large role in the library system's development.
By the 2000s, the system had 27 branch locations with over 2.5 million volumes, including books, magazines, videos, and cassettes. The system currently attracts 2.8 million visitors per year and has 540,000 cardholders who check out more than 3.8 million books and other materials per year. The Library also operates a "Library on Wheels" Mobile Learning Center to service Dallas communities.
The Dallas Public Library is home to a copy of Shakespeare's First Folio, the only copy in a US public library outside of New England. It was purchased by the Dallas Shakespeare Club in 1984 at a cost of $275,000 and was gifted to the Library in 1986. It is displayed on the 7th floor.
A Dunlap Broadside copy of the Declaration of Independence is also housed on the 7th floor. Printed by John Dunlap of Philadelphia, it is only one of twenty-five known to survive. This is the only copy west of the Mississippi, and one of only 3 displayed by a public library. It was purchased by a number of individuals for $500,000 and given to the city.
The library operates 27 branch locations throughout the city, and an 8-story main branch, the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, in the Government District of downtown. It also operates the Bookmarks Children's Library located in NorthPark Center.
- Arcadia Park Branch Library in West Dallas
- Audelia Road Branch Library in Lake Highlands
- Bachman Lake Branch Library
- Dallas West Branch Library in West Dallas
- Forest Green Branch Library in Lake Highlands
- Fretz Park Branch Library in North Dallas
- Grauwyler Park Branch Library in Dallas
- Hampton-Illinois Branch Library in Oak Cliff
- Highland Hills Branch Library in the Highland Hills neighborhood of South Dallas
- Kleberg-Rylie Branch Library in Kleberg in far Southeast Dallas
- Lochwood (formerly Casa View)
- Lakewood Branch Library in Lakewood
- Martin Luther King Jr. Library and Learning Center near Fair Park
- Mountain Creek Branch Library in Mountain Creek
- North Oak Cliff Branch Library in Oak Cliff
- Oak Lawn Branch Library in Oak Lawn
- Park Forest Branch Library in North Dallas
- Paul Laurence Dunbar Lancaster-Kiest Branch Library in South Dallas
- Pleasant Grove Branch Library in Pleasant Grove
- Polk-Wisdom Branch Library in Southwest Dallas
- Prairie Creek Branch Library
- Preston Royal Branch Library in North Dallas
- Renner Frankford Branch Library in Renner in Far North Dallas
- Skillman Southwestern Branch Library in East Dallas
- Skyline Branch Library in East Dallas
- Timberglen Branch Library in Far North Dallas
- White Rock Hills Branch Library in Far East Dallas
- Elizabeth York Enstam, Women and the Creation of Urban Life: Dallas, Texas, 1843-1920 (Texas A&M University Press, 1998) p102
- Simnacher, Joe (February 12, 2010). "Lillian Moore Bradshaw: Library director cleared path for women in city government". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
- DallasLibrary.org – History. Retrieved on 1 May 2006.
- Anthony James West, "The Shakespeare First Folio: The History of the Book; Volume II: A New World Census of First Folios", Oxford University Press, 2003. ISBN 9780198187684
- DallasLibrary.org. Retrieved on 13 March 2006.
- DallasLibrary.org – Arcadia Park Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
- DallasLibrary.org – Audelia Road Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
- DallasLibrary.org – Bachman Lake Branch Library. Retrieved on 21 January 2012.
- DallasLibrary.org – Dallas West Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
- DallasLibrary.org – Forest Green Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
- DallasLibrary.org – Fretz Park Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
- DallasLibrary.org – Grauwyler Park Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 April 2007.
- DallasLibrary.org – Hampton-Illinois Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
- DallasLibrary.org – Highland Hills Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
- DallasLibrary.org – Kleberg-Rylie Branch Library Archived April 9, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
- DallasLibrary.org – Martin Luther King Jr. Library and Learning Center. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
- DallasLibrary.org – Mountain Creek Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
- DallasLibrary.org – North Oak Cliff Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
- DallasLibrary.org – Oak Lawn Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
- DallasLibrary.org – Park Forest Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
- DallasLibrary.org – Paul Laurence Dunbar Lancaster-Kiest Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
- DallasLibrary.org – Pleasant Grove Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
- DallasLibrary.org – Polk-Wisdom Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
- DallasLibrary.org – Prairie Creek Branch Library. Retrieved on 21 January 2013.
- DallasLibrary.org – Preston Royal Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
- DallasLibrary.org – Renner Frankford Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
- DallasLibrary.org – Skillman Southwestern Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
- DallasLibrary.org – Skyline Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
- DallasLibrary.org – Timberglen Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 April 2007.
- DallasLibrary.org – White Rock Hills Branch Library. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
- "" Dallas Public Library. Retrieved on 21 January 2013.
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