Denver Public Library

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Denver Public Library
Nameplate on the Central library's 1955 building
Location 1357 Broadway
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Area Less than one acre
Built 1955
Architect Burnham Hoyt, et al.
Architectural style International Style
NRHP Reference # 90001345[1]
Added to NRHP 6 December 1990

Denver Public Library is the public library system of the City and County of Denver, Colorado. The system includes the Denver Central Library, located in the Golden Triangle District of Downtown Denver, as well as 25 branch locations and two bookmobiles.[2] The library’s collection totals more than 2 million items, including books, reference materials, movies, DVDs and photographs. Of that total, more than 347,000 items are in specific collections including the Western History and Genealogy Department, Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library and Reference Department holdings.[3]


The 1995 portion of building design by Michael Graves is an example of postmodern architecture

The library was established in June 1889 by City Librarian John Cotton Dana in a wing of Denver High School. In 1910, the library acquired a building of its own, called the Central Library, a Greek revival design funded by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie that was located in Civic Center Park in downtown. Between 1913 and 1920, Carnegie also underwrote construction of the first eight branches of the city library. Previously the city relied on traveling trunks of books. The city commissioned a new structure located on Broadway and West 14th Avenue and built by the firm of Fisher & Fisher and designed by Burnham Hoyt.[4] The Broadway property had previously been a dealership for the Ford Model T before being condemned by the City in 1953.[5]

In 1990, 75% of Denver voters approved a $91.6 million bond issue to add onto the Fisher and Fisher/Burnham Hoyt building. The 540,000-square-foot (50,000 m2) structure was designed by architect Michael Graves and the Denver firm of Klipp Colussy Jenks DuBois, and is beside the Denver Art Museum. The building at 1357 Broadway was listed on the National Register of Historic Places 1990, as Denver Public Library.


The library interior includes an abstract panorama representing Denver and the nearby mountains.

The Denver Public Library has a large Western History collection, which began under the direction of City Librarian Malcom G. Wyer and includes 600,000 photographs, 3,700 manuscript archives, 200,000 cataloged books, pamphlets, atlases, maps, and microfilm titles as well as a collection of Western fine art and prints. The quality of its collection of oil paintings rivals that of the Denver Art Museum next door. The library's collection includes western landscape paintings by Albert Bierstadt and Otto Kuhler, as well as a portrait of Colorado historian and Denver Post writer Carolyn Bancroft.

The Western History Department holds the Otto Perry collection of railroad photographs, numbering 20,000 negatives from all parts of North America made available for viewing on the Internet.[6]

The Western History and Genealogy departments merged in 1995 and are located on the fifth floor. The Genealogy department includes 60,000 books, 75,000 pieces of microform, and hundreds of magazine and newsletter titles, charts, clippings, atlases and manuscripts.

The Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library serves as an educational and cultural resource focusing on the history, literature, art, music, religion, and politics of African Americans in Colorado and throughout the Rocky Mountain West. The Library opened in 2003 and houses a full service branch library, research archives and the Western Legacies Museum, an exhibition space that spans more than 7,000 square feet (650 m2) and includes an African American Leadership Gallery, a replica of the Office of Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb, and rotating exhibits which highlight historical periods, notable individuals and local Denver history.

Branch libraries

The original 1910 Denver Carnegie library.
  • Central Library[7]
    • Children's Library
    • Western History & Genealogy Library
  • Athmar Park Branch Library
  • Ross-Barnum Branch Library
  • Bear Valley Branch Library
  • Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library
  • Ross-Broadway Branch Library
  • Byers Branch Library
  • Ross-Cherry Creek Branch Library
  • Decker Branch Library
  • Eugene Field Branch Library
  • Ford-Warren Branch Library
  • Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales Branch Library
  • Green Valley Ranch Branch Library
  • Hadley Branch Library
  • Hampden Branch Library
  • Montbello Branch Library
  • Park Hill Branch Library
  • Pauline Robinson Branch Library
  • Sam Gary Branch Library
  • Schlessman Family Branch Library
  • Smiley Branch Library
  • Ross-University Hills Branch Library
  • Valdez-Perry Branch Library
  • Virginia Village Branch Library
  • Westwood Branch Library
  • Woodbury Branch Library


  1. Staff (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Central Library Maps and Call Number Guide(PDF). Denver Public Library. Retrieved: 2011-03-30.
  3. Facts & Figures Denver Public Library. Retrieved: 2012-02-29.
  4. Burnham Hoyt: Architect of the North Wing of the Central Library
  5. second dealership location photo at 14th and Broadway
  6. "Otto C. Perry Images". Retrieved 2008-11-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Denver Public Library Locations & Hours, retrieved: 2014 October 17

External links