Library History

Tempe Public Library

Tempe Public Library is one of the busiest libraries in the Phoenix metropolitan area with over 1,000,000 visitors each year.

The current library facility opened in September of 1989, having moved from its previous location which is now the Tempe Historical Museum. At that time, the Internet didn’t exist and the collection consisted primarily of books and magazines. Since then, the Library has expanded its services to include public access computing, a full range of audio-visual materials, and online access to reference and research materials via the Internet.

In May of 2006, Tempe citizens passed an $8 million dollar bond issue for the renovation of the library and technology enhancements. During 2009/2010, the Library underwent an extensive renovation project, adding digital infrastructure, computers, meeting rooms and enhanced book stack and reading areas.

Tempe Public Library: a Chronology

1908     First available written record of the Tempe Free Reading Room and Library Association

1932     City Council appoints Library Board; first city funding

1941     Library moves to East Wing of City Hall, 31 East Fifth Street, Tempe

1953     Dedication of 475 sq. ft addition to Library and Council rooms

1957     Library moves to 103 E. Fifth Street, Tempe

1964     Bookmobile begins operation; first professional Library Director hired

1969     Library moves to temporary quarters in Danelle Plaza

1971     Library occupies 37,000 sq. ft facility at Rural and Southern Avenue, Tempe

1973     Library Department and Advisory Board created

1981     Library operation is automated

1983     Membership with OCLC established

1989     Library moves to present 120,000 sq. ft. building on September 30, 1989

1990/
2006
     While maintaining traditional book-based services, the Library gradually expands to include public access computing, audio-visual materials, and online access to reference and research materials via the Internet.

2006     The Friends of the Library establish Tempe Connections, which includes Connections Café and a wide range of programming and volunteer activities.

2006     Tempe citizens pass an $8 million dollar bond issue for the renovation of the Library and technology enhancements.

2009     Tempe Public Library is one of the busiest libraries in the Phoenix metropolitan area with over 1,000,000 visitors each year.

2009/
2010
     Library undergoes extensive renovation project, adding digital infrastructure, computers, meeting rooms and enhanced book stack and reading areas.

Click here to read a detailed history written in 1971 by Dorothy E. Weiler, Library Director at the time.