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About the Library

Durham County Library was the first free, tax-supported library in North Carolina.


The mission of Durham County Library is to encourage discovery, connect the community, and lead in literacy.


Inspiring lives, transforming Durham.


Durham recorded many significant firsts in respect to library movements in other North Carolina cities: the first tax-supported public library, the first professional librarian, and the first bookmobile. Durham also boasted the second library founded for African Americans in the state. Read more >>>

Library Facts FY 2019

  • Circulation: 2,577,475
  • Borrowers: 190,066
  • Adult Programs: 1,957
    • Attendees: 24,276
  • Teen Programs: 650
    • Attendees: 11,972
  • Children’s Programs: 3,118
    • Attendees: 92,639
  • Public Computer Sessions: 191,529

Strategic Plan

Literacy and lifelong learning. Bridging the digital divide. Workforce Development. Capturing the culture of Durham. Accountable, efficient, and visionary libraries.

Download the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan (PDF)

Message from the Director

Durham County Library is proud to serve our community seven days a week at library locations across the county. Every day our staff work to achieve our mission to encourage discovery, connect the community, and lead in literacy. Library staff have been working over the last year to refine and develop our priority goals and objectives as part of the strategic plan. This new strategic plan will focus and guide our work through 2022. From early literacy storytimes, to mobile hotspots available for check out, to OASIS (Older Adult & Shut-In Service), we are serving Durham County residents across the lifespan. We serve people with a wide range of interests, needs, and gifts. It’s our joy that Durham County Library opens our doors and services to the community each day and that community members make the library their own.

I hope you will find a moment to review our strategic plan. The plan centers on five priority goals: literacy and lifelong learning; bridging the digital divide; workforce development; capturing the culture of Durham; and accountable, efficient, and visionary libraries. For me, I see in this plan the hard work of our staff, the Executive Leadership Team, and the Strategic Planning Committee led by Sandra Lovely, Assistant Director for Planning and Facilities. I see their passion and expertise, and I am filled with hope for all that is possible as we work together, guided by a strong plan that is both flexible and responsive to changing needs as well as focused. Our strategic plan is entirely geared toward improving our service to the community and driving positive community change, positioning us to fulfill our vision of inspiring lives, transforming Durham.