Avondale Public Library System History
The roots of the Avondale Public Library System can be traced to the 1930, when a library was begun with fifty books on the stage of Avondale Elementary School No.1. This library functioned as both a school library and a public library until 1941 when it was restricted to students. During its first decade, the library’s hours expanded from two hours a week to being open from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm daily when Mary Ludlow, a teacher at Avondale Elementary School No.1 became librarian. It was through her efforts, along with the help of two girls from the Works Progress Administration, that the first Dewey Decimal System was installed between 1938 and 1940.
A Second Attempt
After the first library was restricted to the school, another attempt was made to establish a library in the Goodyear Community hall in 1943. In 1947, Mrs. Eleanor Stanton found this library to be closed and began a committee to reopen the library. It is this library that has continued to the present day and became the Avondale Public Library when the city took it over in 1959, and provided the library with a larger facility.
In 1972, the need for a new facility was recognized and fundraising for a new library began. This new library was built with funds raised by the Library Board of Trustees chaired by Mrs. Pauline Hazelton. By July 2, 1974, $36,651.28 had been raised. The new Old Town Library on Western Avenue was completed on December 5, 1974 and opened to the public on January 27, 1975. By the 1980s, the library’s collection was over 9,000 items, and in 1984 Santa Claus arrived via helicopter to visit nearly 1,000 library patrons and community members, young and old. In 1985, the City of Avondale awarded a $285,000 contract to again expand the library.
In the 2000s the City of Avondale continued its commitment to library services, and built a new larger library on Western Avenue to replace the Old Town Library - the Sam Garcia Western Avenue Library, which was completed in Oct. 2008.
During the high-growth years of the 1990’s and early 2000’s a new city hall complex was conceived which would include a second library. The city sought help to establish this second library and formed an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the Maricopa County Library District to operate the library. The Civic Center Library was opened on March 28, 2007. As per the IGA, the City of Avondale took control of the Civic Center Library in October 2009, thus creating the Avondale Public Library System.