St. Louis Public Library

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St. Louis Public Library
The Central Library
Country United States
Type Public library
Established 1865
Location St. Louis, Missouri
Branches 15
Size 4.6 million
Access and use
Circulation 2.3 million
Population served St. Louis, Missouri
Members 85,000
Other information
Budget $22.2 million
Director Waller McGuire
Staff 300

The St. Louis Public Library is a municipal public library system in the city of St. Louis, Missouri. It operates sixteen locations, including the main Central Library location. Although similarly named, the St. Louis Public Library is unrelated to the St. Louis County Library system.


The library was founded as a members-only private library in 1865 with a collection of 1,500 books. It was opened to the public in 1874 and reestablished as a publicly supported free lending library in 1893-94, by which time the collection included 90,000 books. In 1901, Andrew Carnegie made a large donation which was used for expansion, including building the current central library. By 1938 the collection included 900,000 items, and by 2014, 4,600,000 items.[1]


The St. Louis Public Library operates 17 libraries, including the main Central Library. Branches include Baden, Barr, Buder, Cabanne, Carondelet, Carpenter, Central Express, Charing Cross, Compton, Julia Davis, Divoll, Kingshighway, Machacek, Marketplace, Schlafly, and Walnut Park. In addition to the Central Library building, Barr, Cabanne, Carpenter and Carondelet branch buildings were Carnegie libraries.[2]

Central Library

File:STL centlib - inside.jpg
Inside the Humanities and Social sciences room of the Central Library on 26 May 2010.

The Central Library building at 13th and Olive was built in 1912 on a location formerly occupied by the St. Louis Exposition and Music Hall and was designed by Cass Gilbert. The main library for the city's public library system has an oval central pavilion surrounded by four light courts. The outer facades of the free-standing building are of lightly rusticated Maine granite. The Olive Street front is disposed like a colossal arcade, with contrasting marble bas-relief panels. A projecting three-bay central block, like a pared-down triumphal arch, provides a monumental entrance. At the rear, the Central Library faces a sunken garden. The interiors feature some light-transmitting glass floors. The ceiling of the Periodicals Room is modified from Michelangelo's ceiling in the Laurentian Library. Renovation and expansion of the building began in 2010 and finished in 2012.[3]


  • Children's Sections
  • Reference Services
  • Programs, Special Events, and Author Visits/Book Signings
  • Periodicals & Nationwide/Worldwide Newspapers
  • Audio-Visual Material including DVDs, VHS Tapes, Books on tape & CD, Music CDs and Music Cassettes
  • MetroBus and MetroLink (St. Louis Light Rail System) Schedules and Information
  • Neighborhood Specific Material
  • Interlibrary loan (ILL)
  • Computers with High Speed Internet, Printing, Word Processing capabilities
  • Voter Registration
  • Computer Visitor Passes

See also


  1. "History and mission". St. Louis Public Library. Retrieved September 27, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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