This History of Public Library Service in Durham, 1897-1997 by Jessica Harland-Jacobs

Chronology of Public Library Service in Durham

Genuine Durham Smoking Tobacco
Advertisement for Genuine Durham Smoking Tobacco, 1870

1852:   Dr. Bartlett Durham donates land to the Carolina Railroad.

1869:   Town of Durham is incorporated.

1881:   Durham County is created.

1892:   Trinity College, which later becomes Duke University, moves to Durham.

1895:   The Canterbury Club considers the idea of a public library for Durham.

1896:   General Julian S. Carr and Thomas H. Martin donate land at Five Points for a public library. The Board of Trustees and Board of Lady Managers are created.

1897:   The NC General Assembly incorporates the Durham Public Library.

1898:   The Durham Public Library opens on February 10 and runs on an annual appropriation from the city.

1899:   Dr. Aaron McDuffie Moore, John Merrick, and Charles C. Spaulding organize the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company.

1908:   Library boosters hold a rally at Durham High School to increase interest in the library.

1911:   Lillian B. Griggs, the state's first professional librarian, arrives in Durham.

1912:   Griggs starts sending books to Durham's mill districts, story hours for children, and county service.

1913:   Moore sets up a small library in the Baraca Room of White Rock Baptist Church.

1914:   The county provides an annual appropriation to the Durham Public Library.

1916-1918:   The Durham Public Library participates in various wartime activities.

1916:   The Durham Colored Library opens on August 14; Hattie B. Wooten is its first librarian. Griggs introduces the idea of requesting a grant from the Carnegie Corporation to build a new library in Durham.

1917:   The city begins an annual appropriation to the Durham Colored Library. The Carnegie Corporation awards Durham a grant to construct a new library.

1918:   The library is temporarily housed in the Lochmoor Dining Room of the Malbourne Hotel. The NC General Assembly incorporates the Durham Colored Library Association, and the county begins an annual appropriation.

1919:   Griggs serves with an American Library Association delegation providing library services to the War of Occupation in Germany.

1921:   The new Durham Public Library opens on July 6.

1923:   The Durham Public Library initiates bookmobile service with Miss Kiwanis, the first bookmobile in the state. Griggs resigns as librarian; Clara Crawford takes over. Dr. Stanford L. Warren becomes president of the Durham Colored Library Board of Trustees.

1926:   Crawford initiates house-to-house service with Miss Kiwanis.

1927:   The Durham Public Library offers services to Watts Hospital, the King's Daughter's Home, and the Woman's Club Fresh Air Camp.

1930:   Donations from the Kiwanis Club facilitate the opening of a Children's Room at the Durham Public Library. The Durham Public Library runs a budget deficit and undergoes drastic cuts at the end of the year.

1931:   The Board of Trustees dismisses the county librarian, truck driver, and children's librarian, while the city and county cut their appropriations in half.

1932:   Selena Warren Wheeler takes over as librarian of the Durham Colored Library.

1934:   The Durham Colored Library initiates county service.

1935:   Durham's newspapers begin reporting on the problems with the library building.

1936:   Crawford is forced to store books in the basement of City Hall.

1939:   The Board of the Durham Colored Library borrows funds from North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company and Mechanics and Farmers Bank to construct a new building.

1940:   The new Durham Colored Library opens on January 17 and is shortly thereafter dedicated as the Stanford L. Warren Public Library.

1941:   State aid to libraries commences.

1942-1945:   Both libraries participate in various wartime activities.

1942:   The Board of the Stanford L. Warren Library considers designating the Negro Collection as a special collection. Stanford L. Warren Library introduces bookmobile service.

1944:   Wheeler initiates service to Lincoln Hospital. The Durham Public Library opens the Y. E. Smith Branch Library.

1945:   Ray Moore takes over as librarian of the Stanford L. Warren Library. The Book Review Forum begins at Stanford L. Warren Library.

1947:   The Durham Public Library sets up a branch at the Forest Hills Clubhouse.

1949:   The Stanford L. Warren Library opens the Library Corner for the Blind.

1950:   The Stanford L. Warren Library builds an annex, which includes a children's room known as the Key Korner.

1951:   Merrick and John Washington establish the Negro Braille Magazine.

1954:   The Stanford L. Warren Library sets up the McDougald Terrace Community Library.

1956:   The Durham Public Library opens its annex, a converted house on Liberty Street.

1959:   Crawford retires and is replaced by Audrey Cushman.

1960:   The Stanford L. Warren Library opens the John Avery Boys Club branch.

1961:   The Stanford L. Warren Library sets up the Bragtown branch.

1963:   Emerson Greenaway conducts a study of Durham's public library system.

1964:   Audrey Cushman resigns.

1965:   George Linder becomes director.

1966:   The Durham Public Library and the Stanford L. Warren Library merge.

1968:   The Friends of the Durham Library and the Durham County Library Association are organized. Durham county residents reject a bond issue for a combined library and public parking facility.

1969:   The Salvation Army Boys Club Branch opens.

1972:   County voters reject a bond issue to convert the downtown Sears building into a public library.

1973:   The public library becomes an agency of Durham County. The Early Childhood Learning Resource Center opens at the Stanford L. Warren Branch.

1975:   The Parkwood Branch opens.

1976:   Voters overwhelmingly approve a bond issue for a new main public library.

1979:   The North Durham Branch opens.

1980:   The Durham County Public Library opens on March 17.

1981:   In its first step toward computerization, the library joins SOLINET.

1982:   Linder retires and Dale Gaddis become director.

1983:   A committee studies the role of the Stanford L. Warren Branch, and the county agrees to renovations.

1988:   The library installs a DYNIX computerized circulation system.

1992:   The Southwest Branch opens.

1997:   Durham County Library celebrates its centennial.

2002:   Dale Gaddis retires and Philip Cherry becomes director.

2006:   Hampton “Skip” Auld replaces Philip Cherry as director.

2006:   The East Regional Branch opens.

2006:   The Stanford L. Warren Branch reopens after a two-year two-million dollar renovation that began in 2004.

2007:   The North Regional Branch opens.

2010:   The Southwest Regional Branch reopens after an 18-month renovation.

2010:   Tammy Baggett replaces Hampton “Skip” Auld as director.

2010:   The South Regional Branch opens.

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