From Humble Beginnings

A History of the Irving Public Library System 

Mrs. Hurwitz had planned to start a library in Irving as early as 1936, but the plan never came to fruition. Perhaps her inspiration for the 1941 library came from the Dallas County Library System, which gave each member library twenty-five dollars a month. Irving received its first donation on April 17, 1941. Scarcely three weeks later, the Irving library was in business.

The city populace of approximately 1,089 supported the library enthusiastically. Donations to the

 Invitation to 1942 library open house
Invitation to open house
1942
library and usage of its collections increased, and the library quickly outgrew its small portion of Blaylock’s Furniture Store. During the spring of 1942, the library rented quarters at 113 E. First Street (now E. Irving Boulevard) for twenty-five dollars a month. The 1,200 square-foot building had previously housed Johnson’s Feed Store. The new library building had chipped paint, a leaky roof, and exposed pipes, but Mrs. Hurwitz enlisted a team of carpenters who remodeled the structure for a very modest cost.

With an eye toward the future, the Irving Library Board began planning to purchase land on which to build a new library building. They created a lot fund in the fall of 1941, and on January 6, 1942, purchased four lots on the corner of Main and Third Streets for $1,400. (This is now the site of Heritage Park.) They purchased two adjacent lots on November 13, 1943, for $700. Plagued with drainage problems, the lots were unusable until Mrs. Hurwitz arranged with Dallas County to grade the site.The Irving Public Library Association solicited donations from individuals and businesses alike to raise money to expand the library. Rent escalated to the point where moving from the First Street location was the only way the library could survive.

Interior of library, 1942
Irving Public Library, 1942-1951, rental space at 113 E. First Street. This photograph dates from Spring of 1942.

Although the library owned sufficient land, there was not enough money to build a new building.



 

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