Scottsdale Public Library History


In the summer of 1955, Lou Ann Noel and Beth Fielder started "loaning out" about 300 donated books in a small room in the Adobe House, formerly located just south of the Civic Center Librarys site today, accompanied by their young children, a card table, a floor fan and a recipe file box. The "library" was open only two hours, two days a week.

Shortly thereafter, the Scottsdale Women's Club was chartered, and adopted the library as a community service project. Collectively, they sorted books, checked records, began a physical inventory, and extended the hours to include one evening each week. The Civic Coordinating Council signed the necessary contract of responsibility with the library to continue as a depository branch of the County Library System.


The Scottsdale Public Library used the Little Red Schoolhouse as the city's sole library from 1963 to 1968.


In 1959, the Friends of the Scottsdale Library was established to assist library service in the community. Their first membership campaign funded utilities, book processing supplies, and because of new community awareness, books were donated by the hundreds.


In 1960, the Town of Scottsdale assumed responsibility for the Library as part of a city program. Shortly thereafter, the first professional librarian was hired, and 62 volunteers became the lifeblood of library service. The first Library Advisory Board was appointed and hours of service increased to 46 a week, and in 1964 the first professional library director was hired.


In 1967, the Library was open 58 hours per week and plans for a new building were underway. A summer reading program was provided through school libraries and the first bookmobile was operating 30 hours a week and providing Homebound Service.


The new 'main' Library opened on August 30, 1968 with 37,000 squqre feet. This new Library was later renamed the Civic Center Library.


In 1983, a $7.5 million bond program passed to expand the Civic Center Library and build the first branch library. The following year, public access to personal computers began.


On Saturday, June 13, 1987, the Mustang Library opened as Scottsdale Public Library's first branch. At 31,850 square feet, it was the largest branch library in Arizona. Year-round, 7-day a week service and 24-hour telephone renewals began in 1986.


In the late 80's, Scottsdale Public Library even had a mobile Bookmobile that was stationed at Civic Center Library.


The Scottsdale School District negotiated an agreement in 1989 for a joint high school/public library. Named Palomino branch library, this new branch was funded by a $14.3 million bond election that also provided for Civic Center Library expansion and an upgrade of the ATLAS online system.


The new Palomino branch library debuted on the campus of Desert Mountain High School in 1995 and featured a CD-ROM network with 29 computer stations, Internet access, library instruction and research assistance for students, storytimes for children, a volunteer program, a book sale/gift shop, 24-hour book drop and meeting room rentals.


Our second shared use facility, Arabian branch library, opened in 1996 on the campus of Desert Canyon Middle School and serves the 1,200 students of the elementary and middle school and McDowell Mountain Ranch community.


The Library System's computer network has changed dramatically from terminals and CD-ROM workstations to a PC network with more than 200 workstations, with over 150 providing direct public access to the Internet. In concert with that, computer classes are available for patrons and staff. In late 2003, the System enhanced the public access network by offering wireless Internet access so patrons with their own laptop computers may use them at any building in the system.

As more people move to the Valley of the Sun and our population continues to increase, the mission of the Scottsdale Public Library System remains more steadfast than ever; to ensure that residents from all racial, cultural and ethnic backgrounds receive materials, services and programs that meet their unique needs.


A dedicated area for Teens called Knowasis was opened at Civic Center Library on February 26, 2006. It features 16 flat screen computer stations. A 52" plasma TV for movies and presentations and domed, music listening stations.


The new Arabian Library opened September 20, 2007 with 20,000 square feet.


The new Appaloosa Library opened November 4, 2009 with 21,000 square feet. Appaloosa Library received a LEED Gold Certification status in 2010 for green building and architecture.


The Civic Center Library underwent a renovation to the Lobby and Adult Services area. The Library Shop was moved down the hall across from Knowasis to make room for a new cafe.


The Eureka Loft opened in Civic Center Library on Thursday, May 2, 2013. The Eureka Loft is the first collaborative workspace in the Alexandria Network, a new Arizona State University initiative that brings together inventors, problem-solvers, entrepreneurs and small businesses in community libraries across Arizona.


The Beneficial Beans Café opened in Civic Center Library on July 31, 2012. Beneficial Beans Café is operated by the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), and is helping to create meaningful jobs and provide vocational training for adults autism spectrum disorders)

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