Work is underway to update the Dallas Public Library’s comprehensive facilities and strategic master plan, and key proposals include renovating or replacing several library branches.

The plan is meant to map out the future of library services and guide policy decisions, budgets, programs, services, collections, technology and staffing. It will include goals to meet community needs over the next five to 10 years, according to the library website.

What you need to know

Many Dallas Public Library branches will need to expand to accommodate the city’s expected population growth by 2040, said Jill Eyres, an associate principal at Group 4 Architecture Research + Planning, the firm leading the project to develop the new library plan. She and her team of four are planning to recommend that city officials replace many of the system’s smaller branches with larger facilities, she said at a Nov. 9 community meeting.

Overall, the city’s 30 library buildings are in “general good condition,” but some of them will need various maintenance and repairs, Eyres said.

The J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in downtown has never had a comprehensive renovation, Eyres said. Her team plans to recommend one to improve and modernize its systems.

These are the changes Eyres and her team plan to recommend for the Lake Highlands- and Lakewood-area library branches:
  • Audelia Road Branch Library: renovation
  • Forest Green Branch Library: maintenance
  • Lakewood Branch Library: expansion and replacement
  • Lochwood Branch Library: maintenance
  • ​​Skillman Southwestern Branch Library: expansion and replacement
  • Vickery Park Branch Library: maintenance
  • White Rock Hills Branch Library: maintenance
The facilities plan will not recommend the addition of any new library facilities, Eyres said.

Quote of note

The plan should be considered as more of a navigation system than a roadmap, Eyres said. As a 10- to 20-year plan, it’s important that it has built-in flexibility to accommodate future needs, she added.

“Some new opportunity is going to come up 10 years down the road that none of us knew about,” Eyres said during the meeting. “This plan will give the library and the city a way to evaluate that opportunity and take advantage of it, if that’s the right thing to do.”

The timeline

Work to update the library plan began in February 2023 and is expected to finish in February 2024, Eyres said. Here is the schedule of key upcoming dates:
  • Dec. 12: Eyres and her team are expected to present their recommendations to the municipal library board.
  • Jan. 16: They are tentatively scheduled to brief City Council’s Quality of Life, Arts and Culture committee.
  • January or February: The team could present a full briefing to City Council.
The plan will be subject to council approval before being implemented.

Get involved

Residents wanting to weigh in on the new plan can do so by filling out this survey, which is available in seven languages. They can also give feedback in person by visiting a feedback kiosk at any of the 30 library locations or by calling or texting 214-814-2936.