Throughout February, in honor of Black History Month, Exploring Durham is featuring articles about some of Durham’s interesting African-American features.
Just five blocks north of North Carolina Central University sits the Stanford L. Warren Library. From the outside it looks like any other library. But what is not apparent from the facade is the important role the library had in African-American history and culture in Durham. This branch, which is part of the Durham County Library system, has been an important community resource and a gathering place for civic and service organizations, especially during the civil rights era.
The Stanford L. Warren Library began as a humble library organized in 1913 by Dr. Aaron Moore in the basement of the former White Rock Baptist Church. Named the Durham Colored Library, it opened to the public on August 14, 1916, and became the second black library in North Carolina. In 1940, during the Great Depression, Dr. Stanford L. Warren gave $4,000 to secure the site of the current library at Umstead and Fayetteville streets. An addition was added to the library in 1950. The black and white library systems merged in 1966.
The current library is a 10,244-square-foot, two-story building with public meeting rooms including a tutoring room and two study rooms. The library also holds the Selena Warren Wheeler Collection, an extensive compilation of African-American literature, culture and history that is regarded as one of the best collections in the South.
Did you know? The Stanford L. Warren Library has a wide variety of features open to the public including adult and children’s programs, a photocopier, computers with internet access, wireless internet and self-checkout.
The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB) is Durham’s official marketing agency. For more information about things to see and do in Durham, visit www.Durham-NC.com and www.DurhamEventCalendar.com, or stop by the Visitors Information Center at 101. E. Morgan St. in Downtown Durham and pick up the Official Durham Visitor & Relocation Guide.