Our History2019-10-16T14:20:49-07:00

A Brief History of the Desert Foothills Library

From our humble beginnings in February 1954, to our present day establishment … come take a stroll with us through our historic timeline.

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


The first used book sale is held.

April 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


Over 43,200 materials circulated that year!

May 1984


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

November 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


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


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, patios for quiet reading, and a botanical garden.

July 2017


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

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