Gwendolyn E. Smith Library

IMG_5573.jpgGwendolyn Marcelle Smith was born to Bessie and William Smith October 12, 1920 in Thomasville, Georgia. She attended elementary and high school in Thomasville and graduated from Paine College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She received her Masters Degree in Library Science from Atlanta University well as a Masters in Library Science from the University of Michigan.

In 1946, Mr. W.A. Robinson, the principal of Carver High School, recruited Gwendolyn as Carvers Librarian. She was the first Black Librarian with a Masters Degree in Library Science in Arizona. She used state of the art procedures to equip the library and develop appropriate policies of decorum. As Carver Librarian she was exemplary in helping to develop and revise other school libraries in the Phoenix Union High School District.

Following the closing of Carver 1954, Gwendolyn served as the  librarian at both South Mountain and Carl Hayden High Schools in Phoenix. In 1969, due to illness in her family, she returned to Detroit and served as Librarian at the Martin Luther King School in Detroit.

While in Phoenix, Gwendolyn was a member of Tanner Chapel A.M.E. Church, the Urban League, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a public service organization. When Gwendolyn retired, she moved to Ontario, Canada for several years and then in 1994 she left to reside near her sister in Houston, Texas. During her stay in Houston, she joined Saint Luke the Evangelist Episcopal Church and was active in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Scleroderma shortened her life and she passed August 8, 1996.

We dedicated the library in her honor for all that she did and endured in being the first black librarian in Arizona, while ensuring that her example meant she would not be the last.

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We are actively seeking partners to help us reimagine and rebuild the library into an amazing and available space in this historic facility that will serve community. 

Interested in sponsoring this effort? Please email today!