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Our Mission

The mission of the St. Louis County Library District is to provide the resources and services to enrich individual minds, enhance lives and expand perspectives.

Established in 1947


A white male library employee wheeling two boxes out of a garage opening towards one of two nearby parked 1940s bookmobile trucks

The St. Louis County Library District was established as a political subdivision of the State of Missouri with taxing authority by an election held in April of 1946. The first library building opened in 1947 and was quickly followed by two branch locations in the heavily populated portion of North County. The 1960s saw an additional four branches, including a new Headquarters building and the first of many building expansions. This building boom resulted in the construction of branches throughout the 524 square miles of the county. A tax levy passed in 1973 allowed the library to add 12 branches to the system, bringing the total number of branch locations to 20. We are supported primarily by the property taxes of District residents.

Over half a million people have St. Louis County Library cards! In terms of circulation, we are the busiest library in the state of Missouri, and one of the largest circulating libraries in the United States. In March 2022, St. Louis County Library (SLCL) and St. Louis Public Library (SLPL) merged catalogs and patron databases into one system. As a result, patrons are able to place city items on hold to be picked up at any SLCL branch. SLPL items can also be returned and checked in at all SLCL branches. This combination allows patrons from both the SLCL and SLPL easier access to more items available at both libraries.


The Library District is governed by a Board of Trustees, consisting of five members appointed by the St. Louis County Council based on a recommendation of the County Executive. The Board of Trustees is responsible for selecting and appointing a Library Director. The Director is the chief executive officer of the Library and is responsible for the execution of the orders and policies adopted by the Board. Information concerning the establishment and governance of the Library District can be found in Chapter 182 of the Missouri State Statutes.