The Lakewood Public Library first opened its doors in 1916 with only 10,000 books to offer the burgeoning streetcar community that built it. But as the city grew, so did the Library, adding thousands of volumes of science, art, history, law and literature every year to serve the needs of the knowledge seekers who flocked to Lakewood from all over the region. As other cities began erecting fine institutions of their own, the Library continued to expand with a series of major construction projects scattered over the decades. A close look at the building reveals that the original architecture has long since given way, unable to contain the explosive ambitions of a vibrant community. But the little Carnegie Library on Detroit, founded by early Lakewoodites as an investment in the future, was the seed of our success. And as Lakewood has prospered, becoming one of the finest places in the country to live and raise a family, its Library has grown beside it, becoming a world-class institution.
That tradition of excellence continues to this day as the Lakewood Public Library is consistently ranked among the best libraries in the nation, competing with large institutions far outside its weight class, but we proudly remain a local library. With a collection founded on essential knowledge and shaped by the interests of our robust population, a walk through the stacks reveals a grand Lakewood conversation taking place between generations, backgrounds and worldviews. The works of local authors, artists, scholars, historians, filmmakers and musicians line the shelves. We read side-by-side with our neighbors in the Grand Reading Room and we gather for celebrations on the front steps.
Today, the Library boasts nearly a half-a-million items available for checkout with the lowest cost-per-circulation ratio in the county. We're also open more hours than any Library in the state--hours for hardworking people! Two convenient locations put the Library within walking distance of every Lakewoodite. And a wide variety of free concerts, films, story times, lectures and classes for children, adults and seniors make the Library the place where Lakewood comes together.
The purpose of Lakewood Public Library is to serve people of all ages, circumstances, and interests by selecting, organizing, preserving and making widely accessible the records of human experience, knowledge, ideas, information, insight and values.