History of the Carrollton Public Library

In 1938, a group of fourteen women had a vision for the Town of Carrollton; the vision was to provide a public library for Carrollton. These women were the charter members of the Forum Club and had as their motto, “Not for ourselves, but others.” The fourteen women were Mrs. J. W. Miles, Mrs. W. S. Parkins, Mrs. John Kratz, Mrs. H. W. Brand, Mrs. J. A. Heins, Mrs. Joe Miller, Mrs. A. J. Miller, Mrs. Harley Magee, Mrs. C. W. Wilson, Mrs. W. A. Watson, Mrs. Glenn Smith, Mrs. Joe Thomas, Mrs. D. A. Wilson, and Mrs. Charles Hynson. The women met on November 17, 1938 and formed the Forum Club and had the public library as their group’s project. Each member brought some of her own books and presented others that they had collected.

The members met with a representative of the State Library Commission Extension Service; the commission cooperated with the group and the Carrollton Public Library became a reality. The Works Progress Administration provided shelving, book cases, and some books for the new library. The present day library still has several WPA books.

A book tea was held in the City Hall in April, 1939. The women collected 290 books and $21.00 in cash at the tea. The City Council gave the ladies the use of the entire basement of City Hall for a library. In September of the same year, the library board was formed . Three members from each of the Forum Club, Chautauqua Scientific Circle, Lions Club, Chamber of Commerce and Music Club made up the library board. Following the formation of the board, twenty-five volunteers set out at 9:00 a.m. one morning at the sound of the City Hall fire siren. They collected two hundred sixty-eight $1.00 library memberships. Books were purchased with the memberships. For the next fifteen years, the library was staffed by volunteer workers. A two mill tax was passed in 1952 for a library fund and the money received from the tax was used to pay the salary of a librarian. In 1955, a bond issue was passed for the purpose of constructing the present 5,000 square feet library. The library was completed in 1958 at a cost of $70,000.

The Carrollton Public Library is presently located on the historic square of downtown Carrollton.  The 12,880 square feet building occupies the lot that was the site of the 1883 Florence Hotel.  The state of the art library blends cosmetically with the 100-year-old buildings located around the square.  Due to the generosity of over 600 benefactors, the building was constructed entirely with donated money and was completed in seven months.