The Lake Highlands and Hamilton Park neighborhoods are getting a transformative community gathering place with a new Forest Green Branch Library under construction. But it will take community support to make the building the dynamic, useful resource it needs to be.
Read on to learn how you can help
The original Forest Green Branch. Only 9,000 square feet with parking for 30 cars.
Much more than a place to borrow books.
A library is a community center and a place for learning, with language and GED classes, storytimes, and after-school homework sessions. The neighborhood library provides Internet and computer access for the unconnected. It is a place for job searches, a meeting place for community groups, and a hub for movies, newspapers, magazines, and hard-to-find materials. Libraries drive economic development through learning. Yes, libraries lend books (paper and digital). But they also build and strengthen neighborhoods. Most importantly, they excite and captivate young minds as well as old.
The new library, under construction at 9619 Greenville Avenue south of Forest Lane, will replace Dallas’ smallest branch library. The original Forest Green library was barely over 9,000 square feet with parking for only 30 cars; the new branch will be 19,026 square feet with 64 parking spaces. A small 570 square foot meeting room that seated only 30 is being replaced with a 1,350 square foot meeting room that seats 150. There will also be two flexible classroom spaces that, when combined, will accommodate more than 130 people for community meetings and larger gatherings. In addition, there will be meeting spaces designed for more intimate gatherings of 4-6 people.
The bond package approved by voters in 2017 funded construction, and our Dallas Public Library will staff the branch and fill it with books and materials. But there remains a Library wish list of key items such as:
The Friends of the Dallas Public Library is raising money to complete the wish list and move Forest Green from good to great. The campaign will also complete the vision of Karen Blumenthal, an acclaimed journalist, author of 12 books and life-long Dallas resident who got so frustrated with inadequate library resources in Dallas she spent more than a decade working to boost library funding. She fought to get the new Forest Green built and had assembled volunteers to help raise money for the wish list when she passed away suddenly in May.
We need to finish the job--for Forest Green, for all of Lake Highlands and Hamilton Park, and for Karen. Your support will not only honor a great legacy, it will also build a legacy that changes lives for years to come.
The wish list for the Forest Green Branch Library includes key items that will turn this building into a home for the entire community and stimulate and inspire young minds as well as old. The price tag is $85,000, and about $35,000 has already been donated in Karen’s memory. We plan to raise more than just the remaining $50,000. Anything over that amount will go toward a permanent endowment to support programming and materials enhancements at Forest Green.
The city is investing in our community by building a bigger, more inclusive library. But with public support, it will become a true educational center of the community.
To make a donation, follow this link. If you prefer to donate by phone, please call our office at 214-670-1458. By mail, send a check payable to the Friends of the Dallas Public Library with “Forest Green” in the notes section to Friends of the Dallas Public Library, 1515 Young Street, 7th Floor, Dallas, TX 75201.
Karen Blumenthal was a lifelong lover of words, an award-winning journalist and author of nonfiction books for young adults, and a champion of the Dallas Public Library.
Frustrated by the library’s budget cuts after the 2008 recession, Karen joined the board of Friends of the Dallas Public Library and organized a campaign to pressure City Council to restore the library’s budget.
Her efforts with others at Friends of the Dallas Public Library resulted in millions of dollars in additional funds, enabling longer operating hours and stronger collections.
Karen lived in Lake Highlands for more than 25 years and was a driving force behind the new Forest Green branch. Her relentless advocacy ensured that the new Forest Green building would be included in the 2017 bond package and prioritized by the city. At the ground-breaking ceremony, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Adam McGough said, “We don’t name libraries in Dallas, but this one should be named for Karen Blumenthal.”
Karen passed away suddenly in May 2020 at the age of 61. If she were still with us, we know that she would be working hard to equip the new Forest Green with the best materials, technology, and programs in Dallas. In honor of Karen’s advocacy and her passion for books for young readers, the Dallas Library also plans to name the new library’s children’s section in her honor.