The first Dodge City Public Library, a beautiful new Carnegie library located at
701 Second Avenue, opened its doors to the public on February 1, 1907. (Built with funds
provided by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, this original building still stands and now houses
the Carnegie Center for the Arts.)
As the years went by and Dodge City grew, a west wing addition to the Carnegie building
was constructed in 1936, nearly doubling the structure’s size. And in 1950, a new children’s library
was opened in the basement of the library.
By the end of the 1960s the original library was badly overcrowded and in need of more space.
After two failed attempts to gain voter approval to build a new facility, in 1970 the Dodge City
Public Library moved into new, rented quarters at 606 First Avenue, in what was part of the old
Montgomery Wards Department Store.
Finally, in 1980, Dodge City voters approved the construction of a new library, and the new
Dodge City Public Library opened at 1001 N. Second Avenue in 1982 (still it’s location today). The
1980’s also saw the library add videocassette movies to its collection (cutting edge at the time), and
complete its first automation project in 1989.
Throughout the 1990s the library adapted to many changes including the advent of the
Internet and online databases, DVDs and CDs, and the public demand for online public computers.
In 2007, the library celebrated its 100th anniversary with an open house and a balloon launch.
In 2013 the library was completely recarpeted and its public computer layout revamped. In early
2019, after a major remodeling of the lower level of the library was completed the year before, a
brand new children’s library opened. Also in 2019 the library became the official new home of
the Kansas Heritage Center. Ownership of the “KHC”, a special collection and research center
focused on the history and culture of Dodge City and of Kansas (and a Dodge City fixture since
1966) was transferred from the Dodge City school system to the library after negotiations between
the two parties.