Dallas Public Library

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Dallas Public Library
Country United States
Type Public
Established 1901
Location 1515 Young Street
Dallas, Texas
Branches 28
Size 4,391,818[1]
Access and use
Circulation 10,236,949[2]
Population served 1,281,047 (2014 Est.)
Other information
Budget $31,177,105 (FY 2015-16)[3]
Director M. Jo Giudice[4][5]
Staff 392.5 FTE[3]
Website www.dallaslibrary.org
References: [6]

The Dallas Public Library system serves as the municipal library system of the city of Dallas, Texas (USA).


The cornerstone of the old Carnegie Library, which was demolished in 1954

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,[7] 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.

The modern Dallas Public Library building opened in 1954 and included controversial artwork.

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[edit]

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.[8] 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.[citation needed]

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.

In 1996, the Library implemented the STAR computer system, which allowed patrons to access a multitude of electronic databases and the Internet.

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.[9]

Historic documents[edit]

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.[10] It is displayed on the 7th floor.[11]

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.[12][13]


Forest Green Branch Library
Skillman Southwestern Branch Library

The library operates 27 branch locations throughout the city,[14] 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.

The newest Branch, the White Rock Hills Branch, opened June 16, 2012[40] and received a 2012 APA/GCPD Accessibility Award from the State of Texas.[41]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.ala.org/tools/libfactsheets/alalibraryfactsheet13
  2. ^ http://librarytechnology.org/libraries/library.pl?id=1060
  3. ^ a b http://financialtransparency.dallascityhall.com/Budget/proposed1516/proposed-fy15-16-GeneralFund.pdf
  4. ^ http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/dallas/headlines/20121219-dallas-announces-it-has-hired-a-new-library-director.ece
  5. ^ http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2013/01/people/dallas-pl-names-permanent-director/
  6. ^ http://www.librarytechnology.org/lwc-displaylibrary.pl?RC=1060
  7. ^ Elizabeth York Enstam, Women and the Creation of Urban Life: Dallas, Texas, 1843-1920 (Texas A&M University Press, 1998) p102
  8. ^ Simnacher, Joe (February 12, 2010). "Lillian Moore Bradshaw: Library director cleared path for women in city government". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 7 March 2016. 
  9. ^ DallasLibrary.org – History. Retrieved on 1 May 2006.
  10. ^ 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
  11. ^ https://dallaslibrary2.org/fineBooks/shakespeare.htm
  12. ^ http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/dallas/headlines/20110702-first-edition-copy-of-the-declaration-of-independence-is-one-of-dallas-undiscovered-treasures.ece
  13. ^ https://dallaslibrary2.org/fineBooks/doi.htm
  14. ^ DallasLibrary.org. Retrieved on 13 March 2006.
  15. ^ DallasLibrary.orgArcadia Park Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  16. ^ DallasLibrary.orgAudelia Road Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  17. ^ DallasLibrary.orgBachman Lake Branch Library. Retrieved on 21 January 2012.
  18. ^ DallasLibrary.orgDallas West Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  19. ^ DallasLibrary.orgForest Green Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  20. ^ DallasLibrary.orgFretz Park Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  21. ^ DallasLibrary.orgGrauwyler Park Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 April 2007.
  22. ^ DallasLibrary.orgHampton-Illinois Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  23. ^ DallasLibrary.orgHighland Hills Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  24. ^ a b DallasLibrary.orgKleberg-Rylie Branch Library Archived April 9, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  25. ^ DallasLibrary.orgMartin Luther King Jr. Library and Learning Center. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  26. ^ DallasLibrary.orgMountain Creek Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  27. ^ DallasLibrary.orgNorth Oak Cliff Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  28. ^ DallasLibrary.orgOak Lawn Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  29. ^ DallasLibrary.orgPark Forest Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  30. ^ DallasLibrary.orgPaul Laurence Dunbar Lancaster-Kiest Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  31. ^ DallasLibrary.orgPleasant Grove Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  32. ^ DallasLibrary.orgPolk-Wisdom Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  33. ^ DallasLibrary.orgPrairie Creek Branch Library. Retrieved on 21 January 2013.
  34. ^ DallasLibrary.orgPreston Royal Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  35. ^ DallasLibrary.orgRenner Frankford Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  36. ^ DallasLibrary.orgSkillman Southwestern Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  37. ^ DallasLibrary.orgSkyline Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  38. ^ DallasLibrary.orgTimberglen Branch Library. Retrieved on 11 April 2007.
  39. ^ DallasLibrary.orgWhite Rock Hills Branch Library. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  40. ^ "" Dallas Public Library. Retrieved on 21 January 2013.
  41. ^ http://governor.state.tx.us/disabilities/awards/apa_gcpd_accessibility_awards

External links[edit]