Dart Hall, which was later replaced by the John L. Dart Library, was one of the original library branches established in 1931. Dart Hall existed as a library for many years before the Charleston County Library adopted it as a branch. Dart Hall was originally built as the Charleston Industrial Normal Institute by the Rev. John L. Dart, a distinguished educator and a leading minister of the city.
His daughter, Susan Dart Butler, founded Dart Hall. She had long felt the need for library services for the African American population of Charleston. She opened a reading room at Dart Hall for the African American public in 1927. This room was operated at Mrs. Butler's expense until the opening of the Dart Hall Branch of the Charleston Free Library in July 1931. The existence of this reading room favorably impressed the leaders of the Rosenwald Fund when they were considering making funds available for the establishment of the Free Library. The Dart family gave the use of the building to the County for the sum of $1 a year rent. From 1931 until 1952, three large rooms were made available. In December 1952, Charleston County purchased Dart Hall.
The present John L. Dart Library was built by County Council in 1968 and named in honor of the late Rev. John L. Dart. Dedication ceremonies were held Dec. 12, 1968, with members of the Dart family present.
A mural that wraps around part of the building honors Cynthia Graham Hurd, a 31-year library employee who was among those killed in the Emanuel AME Church shooting in June 2015. The artwork was done by R. ROBOTS.