The library has a long history that dates back to the late 1800s. Over the years the library has moved, rebuilt and expanded. What has remained the same is our commitment to being a place of learning and providing equal access to all.


Mon–Fri 9 am-9 pm; Sat 9 am-6 pm; Sun 12-9 pm; closed on most major holidays

Contact Information

1515 SW 10th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66604
Phone: 785-580-4400

Location Type


Site Info

AC / Heating
Bus / RV Parking
Group Meeting Room
Research Library
Water Fountain
Wheel Chair Accessible

Langston Hughes, well-known African-American author, lived in Topeka when he was about 7 years old. He attended Harrison school during the 1908-09 term. Hughes wrote in his autobiography The Big Sea about how books came into his life. He tells of his mother taking him to the vine-covered library on the grounds of the capitol. “There I fell in love with librarians,” he wrote, “and I have been in love with them ever since – those very nice women who help you find wonderful books! The silence inside the library, the big chairs and long tables, and the fact that the library was always there, and didn’t seem to have a mortgage on it, or any sort of insecurity about it – all of that made me love it. And right then books began to happen to me.” Make books happen to you! Visit the library.

The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library is a 21st-century, landmark library, and features the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery, the Millennium Café, Chandler Booktique (bookstore and gift shop), free meeting rooms, computer training and free Wi-Fi access. Learn what’s happening at your library by keeping up with Library News, delivered to your mailbox, and Library News Update, delivered to your email inbox. Services also include genealogy research, passport checkout programs for the Kansas Children's Discovery Center and the Topeka Zoo.

The Topeka Room supports research about Topeka, and the Philip and Betty Baker Genealogy Center. Its history, antiques, art and stained glass were donated by some of Topeka's most prominent families. The Menninger family's psychiatric research in mental health, the popular Nero Wolfe mysteries by author Rex Stout, the beautiful poetry by Langston Hughes and artwork of Harlem Renaissance Artist Aaron Douglas are among the prominent authors and artist represented in the book collection.

Located in the heart of Shawnee County, the library has a collection of more than 414,000 books and serves more than 81,000 registered borrowers. About 3,000 people walk through the doors daily.

The library is a great meeting venue for community groups and is a cultural hub for art, music and literature. People of all ages discover and experience art at the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery (under renovation til 2020), which connects individuals to culture, art and artists – both modern and classic. The gallery is also recognized for two national art competitions and its annual art exhibit for children. Professional exhibits from the library’s permanent collection (the oldest in the city) as well as traveling exhibits draw nearly 20,000 visitors annually.

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