The J. Erik Jonsson Central Library

The J. Erik Jonsson Central Library is the flagship branch of the Dallas Public Library system and is located in downtown Dallas, Texas. It was named after J. Erik Jonsson, a former mayor of Dallas, co-founder of Texas Instruments, and philanthropist who played a significant role in the growth and development of the city. The building itself is a stunning example of modernist architecture, designed by the renowned architect Ricardo Legorreta and completed in 1982.

The library is spread over eight floors and covers an area of 240,000 square feet, making it one of the largest public libraries in the United States. The collection of the library is extensive and diverse, including over 1.5 million books, periodicals, and audiovisual materials, as well as a special collection of Texana materials that documents the history of Texas.

The J. Erik Jonsson Central Library is not just a place to borrow books. It also serves as a community hub, offering a wide range of programs and services to the public. Some of the programs and services provided by the library include computer and internet access, job search assistance, literacy programs, cultural events, and classes on various subjects.

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Why should you go?

  1. To admire the architecture. The J. Erik Jonsson Central Library is a prime example of modernist architecture and is a must-visit for architecture enthusiasts.
  2. To browse the extensive collection. Find books, periodicals, and audiovisual materials that cover a wide range of topics.
  3. To attend cultural events. The library hosts a variety of cultural events, including author readings, book clubs, and film screenings.
  4. To take advantage of the programs and services. The library offers a range of programs and services, including computer and internet access, job search assistance, literacy programs, and classes on various subjects.
  5. To learn about the history of Texas. Immerse yourself in the history of the state through a special collection of Texana materials that document the history of Texas.
  6. To find a quiet place to study or work. There are many quiet areas for studying and working, as well as private study rooms that can be reserved.
  7. To have fun with your kids. The library has a children's section with a wide range of books and activities for children of all ages.
  8. To take a break. The library has a coffee shop on the first floor where visitors can take a break and enjoy a cup of coffee or a snack.

Best places to visit near the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library

  • Dallas Museum of Art
Located just a few blocks away from the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, the Dallas Museum of Art offers a diverse collection of art from around the world.

  • Klyde Warren Park
This urban park is situated across the street from the library and offers a variety of free activities, including yoga classes, outdoor concerts, and food trucks.

  • Perot Museum of Nature and Science
This interactive museum features exhibits on dinosaurs, earth sciences, and space exploration.

  • Dallas World Aquarium
This indoor and outdoor aquarium is a short walk from the library and features exhibits on aquatic life from around the world, including sharks, sea turtles, and penguins.

  • Nasher Sculpture Center
This museum, located just a few blocks from the library, features a collection of modern and contemporary sculptures, as well as an outdoor garden.

  • Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
This museum is housed in the former Texas School Book Depository and examines the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

  • Reunion Tower
This iconic tower is located just a few blocks south of the library and offers panoramic views of the Dallas skyline.

  • Dallas Farmers Market
This market, located a few blocks east of the library, offers a variety of fresh produce, meats, and baked goods, as well as food stalls and artisanal products.

  • The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
This garden features a variety of plant collections, as well as outdoor concerts and events.

  • Bishop Arts District
This vibrant neighborhood, located about 5 miles south of the library, offers a variety of boutiques, galleries, and restaurants, as well as live music and events.
  • 1
    What's the best way to see the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library?
    • Explore on your own. If you prefer to explore on your own, the library is open to the public, and you can walk around at your own pace. Be sure to check out the library's various collections and exhibits, which are located throughout the building.
    • Attend an event. The library hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including author readings, workshops, and concerts. Attending an event is a great way to experience the library's atmosphere and learn about its role in the community.
  • 2
    What are some interesting facts about the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library?
    • The structure was built to replace the Old Dallas Central Library and consists of ten stories, eight stories above the ground floor and two below the ground floor, designed in the modernist architectural style.
    • The library was named for J. Erik Jonsson, a founder of Texas Instruments and mayor of Dallas and long-time sympathetic supporter and patron of the library system.
    • Upon opening, the Central Research Library was said to be the only major library in the world to have its entire card catalog on a computer.
  • 3
    What hotels are near the J. Erik Jonsson Central Public Library? 
    • The Westin Dallas Downtown
    • The Sheraton Dallas Hotel
    • The Omni Dallas Hotel
    • The Hyatt Regency Dallas