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. The library Welcome brochure shows the original layout of the 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.

1977: Joy Russell Book Reviews began.

1977: 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 City 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.


1979: A papier-mâché dinosaur was presented to the library by Mrs. Glenna Jarvis and 1st year students at 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.


2013: Lawton Public Library celebrated 40th years of its current name and location.

2015: Children's Librarian Heather Everett passed away. To honor Miss Heather, a pirate ship was built in the Children's area for children to enjoy.

2016: The library opened its Professional Development Center with 3-D printers, a wide-format printer, computers, and more!

2017: The Friends of the Library received a landscaping grant from Lawton Enhancement Trust Authority for new landscaping.


2020: The main library renovated the lobby, restrooms, and meeting rooms.

Pirate Ship