RG 29: Arlington County Public Library Department Records
Prior to 1936, Arlington County had five independent neighborhood libraries. These libraries received limited financial support from the County. In 1936, Arlington citizens working with the libraries organized a County library association with the goal of creating a county library system and increasing the County's financial support. County Manager Frank Hanrahan agreed to support a County library system, but stated that the libraries would need to utilize American Library Association standards in order to achieve the long-term goal of having a professional staff and central library.
In 1937, the Arlington County Library Association voted unanimously to employ a professional librarian to oversee a standardization process. The County government appropriated $3,500 dollars to the libraries, $3,000 for operational costs matching the appropriation of 1936, and an additional $500 to hire a professional librarian.
In the years following this beginning, many librarians and volunteers have worked to enhance collections, and increase community services. In 1949, the eight branches in operation included: Aurora Hills, Cherrydale, Clarendon, Columbia Pike, Glen Carlyn, Holmes, Shirlington (formerly Fairlington), and Westover. Except for the Holmes branch, which closed in 1949, and the Clarendon branch, which became Central Library, all these branches remain in operation. The branches have over time expanded operations, moved into larger facilities, and hired additional staff in order to meet the ever-increasing needs of the Arlington Community.