History of the Library

History-of-the-Library-1.jpg The Dunedin Public Library is the oldest public library in Pinellas County. Its origin dates back to 1895 when Mr. Christopher B. Bouton, a winter resident from Cleveland, presented 200 books to Dunedin "for public use". His brother owned the town's meeting hall and conveyed ownership to the Dunedin Library Association for the purpose of housing a public library and free reading room. The building from that time forward became known as Library Hall, and was located on the waterfront in what is now called Edgewater Park.

The City took over the Library in 1935 when the collection had grown to 7,000 volumes. The steady growth of Dunedin and the corresponding increase in library usage and size of the book collection demanded more space. Thus, with community support, new libraries were built in 1956 on Louden Avenue and again in 1964 on Main Street, the latter presently housing Dunedin's City Hall. The Dunedin Friends of the Library were founded on August 10, 1962 and continue to support the library and its services today.

In 1976, the Library moved into leased space vacated by the W.T. Grant Company in the Douglas Plaza Shopping Center, increasing its size from 5,000 to 22,325 square feet. In 1986, the City of Dunedin purchased the Plaza to provide a home for the Library.

Douglas Library Interior The Dunedin Library became a member of the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative when it began operations on October 1, 1990. Dunedin signed an Interlocal Agreement with the member cities of Gulf Beaches, Gulfport, Largo, Oldsmar, Palm Harbor, Pinellas Park, Safety Harbor, St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg Beach and the County Commission to provide library service to the unincorporated areas of Pinellas County. Residents in the unincorporated county had approved a referendum in March, 1989, to levy up to .5 mils for library service.

In 1989, the entire estate of retired attorney Franklin Chase Milliken was left to the City of Dunedin for the benefit of the Dunedin Public Library. His bequest made the possibility of a new library a reality.

Library Director Julia Noah submitted a study of the library facility to the Library Advisory Committee in 1990. In 1993, the consulting firm of Design Matrix completed a space needs assessment for a new facility and in 1994, the City Commission approved funding for a 38,000 sq. ft. building at a cost of $3.5 million.

Dunedin Public Library Front Entrance The Library celebrated its 100th anniversary in April of 1995. Shortly after the centennial celebration, the Library moved into trailers at the west end of the site. The old building was torn down and a beautiful new building was built where the old building once stood. Architects for the new building were Harvard Jolly Clees Toppe, P.A. The building was constructed by Metric Constructors, Inc. and September 3,1996, was opened to the public. A Grand Opening celebration was held on Friday, October 4th.

Since the opening of the new building, the Dunedin Public Library has continued to grow in services and collections. Electronic technology and new material formats have expanded the dimensions of the Library's collections and services. As we plan for the future, keeping pace with technological developments that will meet the needs of the residents of Dunedin and the broader community becomes an important aspect of the library services the Dunedin Public Library aims to provide. We look forward to fulfilling the directives of the Long Range Plan and continuing the Library's reputation for providing excellent library services.