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Guide to the Fort Worth Public Library Records

History of the Fort Worth Public Library

The Fort Worth Public Library began in 1892, with the formation of the Fort Worth Public Library Association. This group received a grant from Andrew Carnegie to construct the original library building in downtown Fort Worth at the corner of 9th Street and Throckmorton on the site known as Hyde Park. The Association then ceded the building title to the City of Fort Worth and contracted with the city to operate the library.

The Carnegie Library served from 1901 until construction of a new building on the same site, dedicated in 1939. The Association continued to operate the library until it became a department of the City of Fort Worth in about 1947. The city contracted with Tarrant County to provide library services to county residents and operated a bookmobile service to these cities and to neighborhoods in Fort Worth before the establishment of branch libraries. The library system continued to grow with the construction of a new downtown facility at the corner of 3rd and Taylor Streets, and this facility was dedicated in 1978. This building underwent major renovation and expansions in 1986, and again in 1994.

The Fort Worth Public Library has been led by eight directors, culminating in the appointment of Dr. Gleneice Robinson in 1999. The library has had lengthy associations with related groups, including the Fort Worth Public Library Foundation and Friends of the Fort Worth Public Library, which are both still in existence. Defunct groups consist of the All Staff Association and the Fort Worth Art Association.


The collection was created in the normal course of Library business as a department of the City of Fort Worth. Materials are added periodically to the collection as they become available.

Processing the Collection

Fort Worth Public Library archivist Harry Max Hill performed initial review and preliminary processing of several boxes of materials. Dorothy Harwood, University of Texas at Arlington Archival Studies intern, prepared the processing plan and processed Series I and II of the collection. Suzie Diver, University of Texas at Arlington Archival Studies intern, processed Series III, IV, V, VI, and VII.

Scope and Description

The collection is arranged in seven series:


This series consists of the records of library administrative functions. It has various subseries, arranged alphabetically by subject. Material is arranged chronologically within folders.

  • BOARD consists of information documenting Board activities, such as annual reports, correspondence, meeting minutes, membership lists, and member presentations.
  • GOVERNANCE AND LEGAL DOCUMENTS consists of city charter provisions, contracts, ordinances, property conveyances, and resolutions.
  • LIBRARY MANAGEMENT AND OPERATIONS consists of administrative correspondence, departmental operations manuals, policy and procedure memoranda, financial documents, operational reports and statistics, and planning reports.
  • PERSONNEL consists of information about staff committees, staff operations, staff reunions, and volunteer programs.
  • UNITS AND DEPARTMENTS consists of information about branches, current and defunct departments of the library, including correspondence and news releases, and the now defunct Tarrant County Free Library annual, circulation, and monthly reports.


Contained in this series are documents with information about the historical background and development of the library. It has various subseries, arranged alphabetically by subject. Material is arranged chronologically within folders.

  • BOND AND CHARTER AMENDMENT ELECTIONS consists of correspondence, manuscripts, brochures and flyers, and clippings about library related city charter amendment and bond elections.
  • LIBRARY HISTORY consists of the records of the Fort Worth Public Library Association, manuscripts, printed material, and biographical materials about the history of the library.
  • CLIPPINGS consists of news clippings about the library.
  • SCRAPBOOKS consists of books containing news clippings, program flyers, and photographs about the library.


This series contains information about Fort Worth Public Library buildings, including construction blueprints and contract documents, building related commemorations, and site selection reports.

  • BUILDINGS AND FURNISHINGS consists of reports, correspondence, minutes, and other documents related to the construction, renovation, and finish out of library facilities.
  • BLUEPRINTS AND PLANS consists of floor plans, elevations, and detailed architectural drawings.


This series consists of library publications, such as bibliographies, catalogs, calendars of events, newsletters, program flyers, which were published for use by the public.


This series contains records of the defunct All Staff Association, Fort Worth Art Association, and minimal records of the still-active Fort Worth Library Foundation and the Friends of the Fort Worth Public Library. It also contains limited records from the American Library Association, Fort Worth Librarians’ Association, North Texas Library System, Southwestern Library Association, and the Texas Library Association.


This series consists of photographs (print and digital), slides, negatives, videotapes, DVDs, reel tapes, and audiotapes, identified and unidentified. Arranged in three series:

  • PHOTOGRAPHS AND STILL IMAGES consists of photographs, slides, and negatives of library events, employees, and locations.
  • VIDEO AND MOVING IMAGES contains videotapes, DVDs, and reel tapes of library events and media used by the library.
  • AUDIO contains recorded tapes, most recorded as radio spots for KTCU.


This series includes guest books, oversized documents and photos, proclamations and awards, original artwork, and three-dimensional objects.

Note on Finding Aid

The Fort Worth Public Library Records is an open collection and new materials will be added over the coming years. This finding aid is based on the collection as of July 2009. Multiple boxes of budget planning materials remain unprocessed.

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Last updated: June 27, 2014