1976 Main Library

Durham County opened a public lending library in 1898. It was the first in North Carolina to be financed with taxpayers' money, in 1898. The original building, at Five Points, was quickly outgrown and a second library opened in 1921, with the aid of Carnegie Foundation money.

That East Main Street building was - cramped and ill-maintained - and after George R. Linder became the county's librarian in 1965, he pressed for larger and more modern quarters. Repeated bond issues failed to win voter approval until 1976. Four years later a 65,000-square foot building opened with sections specifically designed for children, an audiovisual collection, an auditorium and a "North Carolina Room" for local material.

More than 30 years later, the library has again outgrown its quarters, and the county has plans for enlarging and renovating the building, which, with its columned portico and severe horizontal lines, carries on the architectural styling of the mid-1960s Fire Station No. 1 and City Hall Annex nearby.
Liberty StreetRoxboro StreetHolloway Street