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Phoenix Public Library facts for kids

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The Phoenix Public Library is a municipal library system serving Phoenix, Arizona, and operated by the city of Phoenix. There are 16 branches currently in operation citywide, anchored by the flagship Burton Barr Central Library on the northern edge of downtown Phoenix. Four of the 16 locations were designed by prominent local architect Will Bruder: the Burton Barr central library (opened May 1995), the Cholla branch location at Metrocenter Mall (opened 1977, enlarged and remodeled in 1990), the Mesquite branch at Paradise Valley Mall (opened November 1982, expanded May 1998), and the Agave branch in far northwest Phoenix (opened June 2009).


The library traces its origins to 1897 when a group of citizens decided to raise funds for a library. This group, the Friday Club, consisting of women of upper socioeconomic standing with the same interests of advancement, sought to establish and organize the first public library in Phoenix. By opening day, the library consisted of 1,500 titles. In 1904, industrialist Andrew Carnegie donated money for a library building on Washington Street near the state capital; this building is still in operation as a museum, archives and research center operated by the state of Arizona.

With the explosive growth of Phoenix after World War II, new branches were added citywide. A Central Library was opened in 1953 (replacing the Carnegie Library as Phoenix's main library location), but replaced by the aforementioned Burton Barr Central Library in 1995 (its building is now part of the Phoenix Art Museum).


  • The Burton Barr Central Library opened in May 1995 and is 280,000 square feet (26,000 m2) on five levels. The library is in Phoenix's City Council District 7. Burton Barr Central Library
  • The Acacia Library opened in January 1969 and is 6,600 square feet (610 m2). It replaced the earlier Desert Mission Library which opened in 1929, and was housed in a 2,400 square feet (220 m2) building on 330 E. Eva Street. Acacia library is in District 3. Acacia Library
  • The Agave Library opened in June 2009 and is 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2). The library is in District 1. Agave Library
  • The Century Library opened in December 1973 and is 6,500 square feet (600 m2). The library is in District 6. Century Library
  • The Cesar Chavez Library opened in January 2007 and is 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2). Like the Central Library, Cesar Chavez is located in District 7. Cesar Chavez Library
  • The Cholla Library opened in 1977 and was expanded and remodeled in 1990. The library is 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2) on two levels. The library is located near Metrocenter Mall in District 1, like Agave. Cholla Library
  • The Desert Broom Library opened in February 2005 and has won numerous awards for its design, including the 2006 ALA/IIDA Award for Innovation in Sustainable Design. The library is 15,000 square feet (1,400 m2) and is in District 2. Desert Broom Library
  • The Desert Sage Library opened in July 1997 and is 13,400 square feet (1,240 m2). Like Central and Cesar Chavez, Desert Sage is in District 7. Desert Sage Library
  • The Harmon Library opened in December 1950 and was replaced with a new structure in August 2009 and is 12,400 square feet (1,150 m2). Harmon is in District 8. Harmon Library
  • The Ironwood Library opened in October 1991 and is 16,300 square feet (1,510 m2). Ironwood is in District 6, like Century Library. Ironwood Library
  • The Juniper Library, 14,435 square feet (1,341.1 m2), opened in July 1996. Juniper is in District 3. Juniper Library
  • The Mesquite Library, 19,875 square feet (1,846.4 m2), opened in November 1982 and was expanded in May 1998. Mesquite is near the Paradise Valley Mall in District 3, like Juniper. Mesquite Library
  • The Ocotillo Library opened in 1967 and was remodeled in 2012. Ocotillo is 6,600 square feet (610 m2) and is located in District 7, like several others, including Cesar Chavez. Ocotillo Library
  • The Palo Verde Library opened in January 2006. Palo Verde is 16,000 square feet (1,500 m2) and is located in District 5. Palo Verde Library
  • The Saguaro Library opened in September 1964. Saguaro is 10,500 square feet (980 m2) and is in District 8, similarly to Harmon. Saguaro Library
  • South Mountain Community Library opened in September 2011 as a partnership between Phoenix and South Mountain Community College (SMCC). SMCL is 50,000 square feet (4,600 m2). South Mountain Community Library
  • The Yucca Library opened in March 1969 and was remodeled in 2001. 10,000 square feet (930 m2) in size, Yucca is located in District 5, like Palo Verde. Yucca Library
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