Municipal Archives

​​​Establishment of the Dallas Public Library System, 1900​

​​​​Collection 1991-029​


Repository Dallas Municipal Archives
Office of the City Secretary
1500 Marilla Street, 5D South
Dallas, Texas 75201
CreatorOffice of the City Secretary
TitleEstablishment of the Dallas Public Library System
Quantity12 linear inches
AbstractDallas Public Library ordinance.
LanguageRecords are in English

Scope and Content

Collection consists of a printed ceremonial copy of the City of Dallas ordinance that established the Dallas Public Library System.
After receiving a $50,000 grant from steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, the Dallas City Council, under Mayor Ben Cabell, approved the ordinance that, on May 4, 1900, established the Dallas Public Library System.  The ordinance provided for land and facilities annual budget and a board of trustees.  The building opened in 1901 and housed 9,852 volumes.  Four new branches opened in the 1930s.  In 1954, the Carnegie library was torn down, and a six-story facility that held 433,000 books was built in its place the following year.  During the 1960s and 1970s, the city built 17 new branches.  

The current central library building opened in 1982 and was built with the emerging technology in mind.  It was one of the first libraries in the country to have an on-line catalog system and to offer state-of-the-art audio-visual capabilities.  In 1986, the building was named the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library to honor the former mayor who played a major role in its development.   Jonsson, who served as mayor from 1964 to 1971, headed a fund-raising drive to collect $13 million for the central library built in 1982.  Eleven of Dallas' then-18 branch libraries were built during the years Jonsson was mayor.  Prior to 1986, the building was referred to as the central library or the downtown library.

As of 2017, the Dallas Public Library System circulated over 8,000,000 items a year and has 28 branches.  Almost 600,000 patrons used the Central Library annually, and the total library system reached over 3.3 million patrons.


NA.  This collection contains oversized material.

Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, or use by any and all other current or future developed methods or procedures must be obtained in writing from the Dallas Municipal Archives. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.


Establishment of the Dallas Public Library System, 1900  (Box <x>, Folder <y>), Dallas Municipal Archives


Related Material

Index Terms

Dallas -- Texas -- History 
Dallas Public Library

Container List 

BoxFolder Title, Date
11City ordinance, 1900 [OS]