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A local arm of the League of Women Voters (LWV) was organized in Kirkwood and one of their earliest endorsements was for the creation of a public library in Kirkwood.  In 1922, the LWV appointed a committee to explore the opening of a public library.  On March 8, 1924, the Kirkwood Public Library committee declared the date “Library Day” for the City of Kirkwood.  Local Boy Scouts collected over 2,000 donated books from local residents to help start the new library.  Volunteers cataloged the donations for use by the new Kirkwood Public Library.



On May 10, 1924, the Kirkwood Library opened on the second floor of City Hall.  Downstairs were City Hall offices and jail.

Just over two years later, on December 10, 1926, Kirkwood Public Library became the first tax-supported library in St. Louis County.  The first meeting of the Kirkwood Library Board was held on April 11, 1927.


In 1940, the new library building cost approximately $41,500 to build (including the purchase price for the lot).

1945 – The Library was given a dedicated phone number, Kirk 1212 – prior to that, it went through the switch board at the City Hall.

1954 – Bond issue passes for expansion.

1954 – Construction began on the new addition.  The completed extension opened in Fall 1955.

1962 – The Bond issue passed.  Board plans expansion to existing building.  The Board employed Drake-O’Meara Associates as architects.  $115,000 addition was completed in 1964.

2007 – KPL received the “Missouri Library of the Year” award.  Another bond issue passed for another addition.  Voters approved a .12 cent property tax increase, and the Library used .08 cents of the tax to finance the $6.5 million in bonds for renovations. The other .04 cents went toward increasing the library operation revenue.

2009 – Kirkwood Public Library relocated to Station Plaza for 15 months to allow for the renovations.

2010 – Grand opening of newly renovated KPL.

2016 – KPL received a $733,000 donation from the Earl E. and Myrtle E. Walker Foundation, and the Edward Chase Garvey Foundation, and an anonymous donor to transform the Children’s Room into an interactive center focused on the whole child.

2016 – KPL held a year-long celebration of the 90th Anniversary.

April 2017 – KPL hosted a grand opening celebration for the newly remodeled Children’s Room.

2019 – The library’s cupola was removed, restored and reinstalled.

December 2021 – KPL celebrates it’s 95th Anniversary.

What once began as a one-room library on the top floor of City Hall has grown into a three-story building housing a wide collection of all types of materials.

Visit the Kirkwood Public Library Digital Archives for more history of the Library and the Kirkwood Community.

A Brief History in Photographs

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Summer Reading - May 18th through August 12th!


PARDON OUR DIRT : The front lawn of the library is under construction. At this time, access to the library is through the front ramp only.