Our History2019-02-22T10:08:16-07:00

A Brief History of the Desert Foothills Library

From our humble beginnings in June of 1930, to our present day establishment … come take a stroll with us through our historic timeline.

June 1930

June 4, 1930

Unofficial documents mention a Maricopa Library branch in Cave Creek — probably out of a saloon at the time.

February 1954

February 14, 1954

Corolyn Cox, Library Chairman of the Cave Creek Improvement Association (local civic authority), signed a contract with Maricopa County to operate the new Cave Creek Branch Library. Dorothy E. Smith, Librarian, was named as its first Director (pictured here). First year circulation was only 1,302 materials, given mostly out of the trunk of Smith’s car.

May 1957

1957 – 1960

The Library found its first long-term home in Nelson Hall, the parish hall of the Good Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church.

September 1960

1960 -1970

The Cave Creek School was home to the Library for the next ten years in different rooms and buildings as needed.

October 1966

1966

The first used book sale is held.

April 1969

1969

The library is renamed the Dorothy E. Smith Branch of the Maricopa County Free Library.

March 1975

Early 1975

The Cave Creek School gave notice the Library had to move! There was not enough room anymore and an anonymous couple stepped forward to pledge $30,000 to a free standing library; The Desert Foothills Library Association was formed, incorporated, and a Board of Directors appointed to see this crisis through.

February 1977

February 14, 1977

The Board chose the current location of the library on top of Saguaro Hill for the proximity to the school and the beautiful views. The grand opening was exactly twenty-three years after the first signed contract with Maricopa County. The Library was 2,000 square-feet. The Library is renamed the Desert Foothills Library.

July 1980

1980

Over 43,200 materials circulated that year!

May 1984

1984

Growing again! A new 1,000 square-foot children’s wing was built to incorporate the growing needs of the community.

November 1986

1986

Arizona House Bill no. 2372 was passed by the Arizona Legislature enabling the counties to form ‘library districts’ with taxing authority and requiring towns to either join or withdraw. On June 10, 1987 the Desert Foothills Library Association unanimously voted to leave the Maricopa County Library System to become an independent public library.

April 1987

1987

Since the Desert Foothills Library’s independence from Maricopa county Library System it has remained unique in that it is the only public library in the county that is privately funded. Unlike the county’s other twenty-five libraries, the DFL does not have its own tax district.

February 1990

Early 1990s

The Library’s specialized Southwest Collection was born to offer a separate reference and reading room.

April 1994

1994

Time for another remodel! The space for DFL would be doubled. This remodel would add a larger children’s area, move shelving space, a modest multi-purpose room, computerized card catalog, three Macintosh computers, and access to the Internet.

December 2009

Late 2000’s

True to fashion, the library was due for another expansion! The Library was open seven days a week, even in the mess of the remodel. With this new space the Friends of the Library were able to move into their own book sales room. Other new features included: increased shelving space, a storytime room in the children’s section, study rooms, state-of-the-art conference room, enhanced adult programs, WI-FI throughout the building, passport processing office and photo services, patios for quiet reading, and a botanical garden.

July 2017

2017

Added parking is created by building a large parking garage south of the Library building, hosting more than a hundred parking spaces!

April 2018

2018

The most adventurous remodel yet! The Library is expanded to include a new community room which can be split into two different rooms if needed. The back patio is removed to add more study space and comfortable chairs to enjoy the beautiful view. Chapter 2 Bookstore gains more room to house its ever growing sales. Club 1117 is added to create a welcoming atmosphere for teens in the area, and updated technology in every programming room. Almost every inch of the Library is fixed or added to accommodate the growing needs of the Foothills community. Circulation is over 900,000 materials each year!