History In 1921 the Durant City Council passed an ordinance for a public library. They appointed a library board, rented a house at the corner of 4th and Beech, and hired Mrs. Lester O'Riley as Durant's first librarian. The library was opened to the citizens of Durant and professors of Southeastern Oklahoma State College, now SoutheasternOklahomaStateUniversity. In 1925 Judge Robert L. Williams purchased the present property and donated the site to the city to be used for a library. In 1935 a bond issue was passed by the voters for funds to be used for the construction of a library building. Judge Williams paid the interest on $10,000 of the $10,500 approved. A federal grant from the WPA was obtained, and construction started in 1936. In 1939 the library had 6,500 volumes plus other items the community had donated from their own private collections to help support the book budget. In 1955 an addition was added to the existing building and new shelving, tables, circulation desk and air conditioning were added. The trust set up by Judge Williams paid for this extension. In 1987 the library moved to the Old Durant Bank and TrustBuilding for a year while the library was expanded. Funds for the renovations came from the Judge Williams Trust and a grant from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. In 1991 the first computers were added to the equipment list and the staff began the long task of putting the books on the database. The card catalog was put on the computer at this time. Now, fifteen years later, the library has grown to have a total of 20 computers. In 1997 the Chamber of Commerce received a grant from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce for accessing the Internet. The library also benefited from this grant and was able to offer its patrons access to the World Wide Web. Today the library holds 55,916 volumes, and has come a long way from the small rented house on the Corner of 4th and Beech. Because of the commitment of the Durant City Council and the current Library Board, the Robert L. Williams Public Library is ready to prepare its patrons for the future. As the 21st century dawns, new technology is being offered at an ever faster rate, and the Robert L. Williams Public Library is eager to serve as a support system for the citizens of Durant to help them learn to cope with the demands of an increasingly technical world.