Miami-Dade Public Library System

The Miami-Dade Public Library System (MDPLS) is a system of libraries in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States.

Miami-Dade Public Library System
MDPLS Wing Logo.jpg
CountryUnited States
LocationMiami-Dade County, Florida
Coordinates25°46′29″N 80°11′47″W / 25.7746°N 80.1963°W / 25.7746; -80.1963Coordinates: 25°46′29″N 80°11′47″W / 25.7746°N 80.1963°W / 25.7746; -80.1963
Branches49 + 2 bookmobiles + 1 technobus
Access and use
Access requirements1,084,841
Population served2,496,435


The Miami-Dade Public Library System is a county department within Miami-Dade county government. The Board of County Commissioners is the governing body over the library system.

The Library Advisory Board serves in an advisory capacity to the Board of County Commissioners on public library issues, providing reports, recommendations, and guidance to the government of Miami-Dade County.

Service AreaEdit

The service area of the Miami-Dade Public Library System is defined by the Miami-Dade Library Taxing District. The Miami-Dade Library Taxing District includes the majority of the geographical boundaries of Miami-Dade County, including most of its 35 municipalities and all of unincorporated Miami-Dade County.[1] The Miami-Dade Public Library System includes 49 libraries, two bookmobiles and one technobus.[2]


Early yearsEdit

Public school library and Lemon City LibraryEdit

Street view of Lemon City Branch Library circa 1955 - 412 NE 61st Street location

The Miami-Dade Public Library System began on April 7, 1894 with the opening of a reading room in Lemon City by the Lemon City Library and Improvement Association. One library was opened in the Lemon City public school, while in 1902, the Lemon City Library opened at 412 NE 61st Street.[3][4][5][6]

Cocoanut Grove LibraryEdit

On June 15, 1895, the Pine Needles Club opened the Cocoanut Grove Library.[7] Louise Whitfield Carnegie donated books to help the library after she visited Coconut Grove and attended a Pine Needles Club meeting.[8][9]

In 1897, the library occupied a storeroom. In the 1900s, Ralph Munroe, the commodore of the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, donated land for the construction of a new library. The library structure was donated by writer and conservationist Kirk Munroe.

In 1900, the Cocoanut Grove Library Association was incorporated, and in 1901, Miami-Dade County's first library building was built in Cocoanut Grove and remained in service until 1957, when it became part of the Miami Public Library.[10][11]

On November 16, 1963, a two-story library designed by local architect T. Triplett Russell opened and is a designated Florida Heritage Site.[12]

View of Miami Public Library Traveling Branch

Flagler Memorial LibraryEdit

In 1913, Henry Morrison Flagler donated land for a Miami Women's Club clubhouse with the provision that it contain a public reading room. In 1915, the Miami City Commission began allocating $50 per month to support the club. The Flagler Memorial Library was established at 1737 North Bayshore Drive. By 1925, the communities of Coconut Grove and Lemon City had been annexed into the city of Miami.


On January 5, 1928, Miami's first bookmobile was pictured in the Miami Herald.[13] The first bookmobiles served rural areas of the city and county. In 1979, about 20 bookmobiles were in service with about 293,000 items in circulation, but by 2001 two bookmobiles remained.[14]

The Dunbar LibraryEdit

Street view of Dorsey Memorial Library

In 1936, Paul Laurence Dunbar Library opened in a building donated by Annie Coleman, president of the Friendship Garden and Civic Club, to serve citizens of Overtown.[15] In 1938, the facility was made part of Miami's library system and renamed the Dunbar Branch Library.[15] This was the first public library serving the Black community. [16]

On August 13, 1941, the Dorsey Memorial Library opened on land donated by Black philanthropist Dana A. Dorsey.


In 1942, all Miami libraries were merged into a single public library system governed by a Board of Trustees.

A subscription library in Coconut Grove became part of the system in April 1957. Eight branches were constructed in the next eight years. In December 1965, the city of Miami began providing public library service to unincorporated Dade County and municipalities that did not have a library service. Coral Gables, South Miami and the Miami Springs library were included in the system. Four bookmobiles provided library service to the unincorporated area.

In 1961, the Dorsey Library was abandoned for the Dixie Park Branch Library, which was renamed the Culmer/Overtown Branch Library in 1983.

On November 1, 1971, the city of Miami transferred its library system to Metropolitan Dade County, which created a new department of libraries.[17]

Homestead's public library joined the county system on January 1, 1975. The Hispanic Branch, Rama Hispanica, opened August 2, 1976 in Little Havana.

On November 7, 1972, 14 new libraries were constructed when $34.7 million was authorized for land acquisition and the construction, renovation, equipment and furnishings of public libraries.

The Miami Beach Public Library and its two branches became part of the Miami-Dade Public Library System in October 1986. On January 15, 1992, the world's first library on an elevated transit system opened at the Metrorail rapid transit system in the Civic Center Station.


The Doral Branch Library, the Country Walk Branch Library and the Hialeah Gardens library were opened in the early 2000s. In 2003, branches opened in Naranja, Tamiami and Lakes of the Meadow. In 2004, libraries opened in Concord and Palm Springs North. A regional library opened on Miami Beach in 2005, as did branches in Sunny Isles Beach and California Club.[18] The Opa-Locka, Sunset and Golden Glades branches opened in 2007, and branches at International Mall, Kendale Lakes and Virrick Park in Coconut Grove opened in 2008. Pinecrest opened in October 2008 and the Arcola Lakes Branch Library opened in 2011.

In 2012, the library system experienced a 30 percent cut in its budget, forcing the elimination of 153 part-time positions and a 25 percent reduction in full-time staff.[19]

The Miami-Dade Public Library System is a subregional library of the Florida Bureau of Braille and Talking Books Library.[20][21] In 2008, the Miami-Dade Public Library System was one of five U.S. library systems to win the National Medal for Museum and Library Service that was awarded on October 8 at the White House.[22]

In July 2014, a restructuring of the Miami-Dade tax schedule resulted in a $22 million increase in the county library budget.[23][24] In 2014, Miami-Dade County amended the county charter allowing Miami-Dade public libraries to be located in public parks.[25][26] The Northeast Branch Library in Aventura opened on August 17, 2015.[27] The library system's 50th branch location opened in the Town of Bay Harbor Islands in December 2016.

In 2017, the Miami-Dade Public Library was awarded Library Services and Technology Act grants to digitize its archives.[28]

The City of Homestead constructed a new library facility in Homestead and withdrew from the Miami-Dade Public Library System. The City and the County did enter into a reciprocal borrowing agreement. [29]

The Hialeah Gardens Branch Library opened on February 11, 2021.[30]

On May 10, 2021, the Tamiami Branch Library opened as part of Miami-Dade County's Gran Villa affordable housing complex.

Miami-Dade Public Library System Doral Branch

Friends of the LibraryEdit

The Friends of the Library was incorporated in 1974 as a non-profit, volunteer organization to create support for the county library system.[31] The founding members included a number of historically significant South Floridians including Frank Brogan, Mae Knight Clark, Helen Dorsett, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Margaret Ewell, Douglas Fairbairn, Pamela Johnson, Helen Muir, William Muir and Ralph Renick.[32]


  1. ^ "About Us - Miami-Dade Public Library System".
  2. ^ MIami-Dade Public Library website (October 28, 2021). "MDPLS Locations" (PDF).
  3. ^ Karantsalis, Theo (February 9, 2012). "Life Amid the Lemon Trees - One of Miami's Oldest Neighborhoods, Lemon City, Was Home to the County's First School Library, and Major Grocery Store". The Miami Herald.
  4. ^ Santiago, Fabiola (June 15, 1986). "Area's Oldest Library Writes a New Chapter in 92-Year History". The Miami Herald.
  5. ^ Smith, Stephen (June 12, 1986). "Lemon City Celebrates Its 'Oasis in the Desert'". The Miami Herald.
  6. ^ Peters, Thelma. Lemon City. Miami: Banyan Books, 1980. Pages 206-211.
  7. ^ "History of The Miami-Dade Public Library System". Miami-Dade Public Library System Website. February 24, 2009. Retrieved Oct 22, 2016.
  8. ^ Muir, Helen. Miami, U.S.A.. New York: Henry Holt, 1953. Page 38.
  9. ^ Blackman, E. V. (Ethan V. ) (1921). "Miami and Dade county, Florida; its settlement, progress and achievement". The Internet Archive. Washington, D.C., V. Rainbolt. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  10. ^ Blackman, E. V. Miami and Dade County, Florida. Washington, DC: Victor Rainbolt, 1921. Page 75.
  11. ^ Minutes of the Coconut Grove Housekeepers Club. P. 28. 1892. Preserved on microfilm at Miami-Dade Public Library main branch.
  12. ^ "City of Miami Historic and Environmental Preservation Board Designation Report, The Coconut Grove Library" (PDF). July 7, 2009.
  13. ^ (1928, January 5). Miami Herald, p. 11.
  14. ^ "Bookmobiles". 11 November 2015.
  15. ^ a b "Dorsey Memorial Library: Designation Report" (PDF).
  16. ^ "Miami-Dade Public Library System". Retrieved October 28, 2021.
  17. ^ Metropolitan Dade County Resolution No. R-1551-71 approved the agreement with the City of Miami
  18. ^ Robert A. M. Stern (2005). "Miami Beach Regional Library". Retrieved 2009-08-07.
  19. ^ Kelley, Michael (January 1, 2012). "Library Journal". The New Normal: Annual Library Budgets Survey 2012.
  20. ^ Miami-Dade Public Library System, Talking Books Library & Braille.
  21. ^ Braille and Talking Book Library Archived 2016-12-24 at the Wayback Machine, About the Library
  22. ^ "Miami-Dade Public Library System Miami Beach Regional Library". Retrieved 2018-03-09.
  23. ^ Mazzei, Patricia. "Miami-Dade Commission Vote for Slight Property-Tax Rate Hike to Help Libraries". Miami Herald Online. Miami Herald. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  24. ^ Hanks, Douglas. "Funds to Buy Children's Books Would Triple Under New Miami-Dade Library Budget". Miami Herald Online. Miami Herald. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  25. ^ Hanks, Douglas. "Miami-Dade voters to decide courthouse tax, FIU growth, park rules". Miami Herald Online. Miami Herald. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  26. ^ "Dade - Election Results".
  27. ^ "Library". City of Aventura. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  28. ^ "Fiscal Year 2017-18 Funded LSTA Projects" (PDF). LSTA. Florida Department of State Division of Library and Information Services. Retrieved September 7, 2019.
  29. ^ "Miami-Dade County Resolution No. R-307-20" (PDF). October 21, 2021.
  30. ^ "Miami-Dade County Press Release, "Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Jose "Pepe" Diaz and Hialeah Gardens Mayor Yioset De La Cruz to help celebrate the grand opening of the new Miami-Dade Public Library System Hialeah Gardens Branch"". February 9, 2021.
  31. ^ "About Us – Friends of the Miami-Dade Public Library".
  32. ^ "Friends of the Miami-Dade Public Library website". October 21, 2021.

External linksEdit