LIBRARY HISTORY

1904

The first library in Lawton was organized by the Women’s Federated Clubs of Lawton in September.  Mrs. Elizabeth Mayes was named the first librarian on November 6th.  The collection consisted of the 178-volume M. S. Simpson library, the 372-volume Hill library and the 65 volumes received at a book reception.

 

1905

The 3,550 volumes were moved from the City Hall.  For the first ten years the City contributed only enough for the librarian’s salary and the library’s operating expenses. The Federated Clubs had to raise the money for books.

 

1916

The City received a $25,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie which was used to build the Carnegie Library.

 

1922

The library owned 4,000 books.

 

1923

In May the library moved into the new building, paid for with a $25,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie and $17,000 in City funds.

 

1939

A bond issue was approved and a children’s section was added to the library.

 

1963

Mrs. Mamie Small retires after 42 years as head librarian.  Zoe Gigoux became the head librarian.

 

1969

The library offered its first Summer Reading Program.

 

1973

In December, the library moved into the new building at 110 SW 4th Street and changed its name to the Lawton Public Library.

 

1975

Bernice Jackson became head librarian.  A bookmobile was purchased, and the first Library Advisory Board was started.

 

1976

Budget approval was obtained for creation of audio-visual department.  Films, tapes, slides and microfilm were available for checkout.  The library also received a $2,000 grant from Oklahoma Department of Libraries to offer services to Comanche County Jail prisoners.  Library provided 300 books.  Bookmobile service began.  The Southwest Oklahoma Genealogical Society donated funds to develop the McCutcheon Room.mural

 

1977

Joy Russell Book Reviews began. The mural (pictured right) was gifted to the citizens of Lawton. It was presented as a bicentennial project by elementary school students under the direction of the Lawton PTA Council Bicentennial Committee, August 8, 1977.

 

1978

McMahon Foundation gave $19,722.04 grant for partitioning a genealogical research area and for microfilm and microfiche cameras. No support found for multi-county library.  The Great Plains Literacy Council began.

 

1979

Lawton Public Library was one of two libraries in the state with online information retrieval, a computer-assisted reference service.  The Jeannie McCutcheon Genealogy Room opened to the public.  The DAR transferred their books and materials, which were in the Cidinosaurty Museum, to the library’s Genealogy Room.  The Oklahoma Image Project began which evolved into the International Festival. The Library bought an Electric Screening System for the exit door which cost $12,500.

 

1980

A papier-mâché dinosaur was donated to the library by the Western Hills Elementary School.

 

1981

Friends of the Lawton Public Library was created.

 

1982

A change in policy regarding issuance of library cards was instituted.  Patrons needed to be 16 years of age to sign for a library card.  Previously, patron age requirement was 12. 

 

1997

On May 7, the Kathleen Wyatt Nicholson Branch opened.

 

1998

In June a parking lot was added to the Kathleen Wyatt Nicholson Branch.

 

201340th anniversary

Lawton Public Library celebrated 40th years of its current name and location.