Home > About > Library History

Library History

Library milestones through the decades
Year Date Accomplishment
1912 October 29 Referendum passes to accept Andrew Carnegie funds to build a library for the City of Tampa.
1913 West Tampa City Council approves Carnegie Library proposal & special election is held.
1914 January 1 West Tampa Library opened at 1718 North Howard Avenue. West Tampa Branch Library
1915 June 30 City of Tampa formally accepts Carnegie building at 102 East Seventh Avenue.
1917   Tampa Public Library begins service at 102 East Seventh Avenue. Find more about the library's Seventh Avenue origins. .7th Avenue Library
1919 A library for Negroes opens at the Harlem Academy.
1922 July Hyde Park Branch Library opens at 705 Swann Avenue. Hyde Park Branch Library
1923 Desoto Park Branch opens. Desoto Park Library
1923 July Harlem Academy Library moves to the Urban League Headquarters. Harlem Branch Library
1925 January 1 West Tampa Library merges with Tampa Public Library System.
1927 January 1 Plant City Women's Club funds a library.
1927 January 4 Seminole heights Branch Library opens in neighborhood park. Seminole heights Branch Library
1930 July Tampa's first Bookcar visits factories & schools. Bookmobile
1934 Ybor City Branch Library opens at 1729 East Broadway.
1946 West Branch Library opens at 1129 Main Street.
1951 Port Tampa Women's Club opens library at corner of West Shore & Bayshore Boulevards.
1954 Tampa's second City Bookmobile serves Ballast Point, Forest Hills, Palma Ceia, Sulphur Springs & Wellswood. Bookmobile
1960 October 29 Peninsular Branch opens at 3837 Neptune.
1960 Brandon Women's Club opens library in clubhouse on North Moon Street.
1960 Plant City dedicates new library at Wheeler & McLendon Streets.
1960 Temple Terrace Woman's Club opens library in building on golf course.
1961 City & County consolidate libraries into one system by contract.
1961 Port Tampa Library becomes branch of the system. Port Tampa Library
1962 Federal grant purchases third County bookmobile.
1962 Temple Terrace Women's Club Library merges into City system & moves to Municipal Center.
1964 January 13 North Tampa Branch Library opens at 8916 North Boulevard. North Tampa Branch Library
1964 July 26 Ruskin Women's Club Library incorporates.
1965 April 25 Groundbreaking for new Main Library on Ashley Street. Bulldozer
1965 The Main Library is designated a selective depository for federal government documents.
1965 Lutz Library Guild opens library on Lutz school grounds.
1965 Seminole heights Branch opens new building at corner of Central & Osborne Avenues. Seminole heights Branch Library
1965 West Branch Library closes.
1966 June 5 Ruskin dedicates a new branch library at One Dickman Drive. Ruskin Branch Library
1966 April 17 Temple Terrace Library dedicated at 202 Bullard Parkway. Temple Terrace Library
1966 Tampa's fourth & larger bookmobile begins service.
1967 Remodeling of North Tampa Branch completed.
1967 The Main Library is designated as a depository for documents issued by the State of Florida.
1968 April 21 New Main Library dedicated at 900 North Ashley Drive New Main Library
1968 August 28 Peninsular Branch opens new building at 3909 Neptune Street. Peninsular Branch Library
1968 Brandon Branch Library is dedicated at 135 West Robertson Street. Brandon Branch Library
1968 Hyde Park Branch Library closes.
1969 January Westgate Branch opens on West Hillsborough Avenue storefront.
1969 Ybor City Branch Library dedicates new building at 1505 Nebraska Avenue. Ybor City Branch Library
1969 East Branch (formerly Harlem) & original Ybor City Branch close.
1970 January Special Services fifth bookmobile dedicated; serving nursing homes. Bookmobile
1970 Lutz Branch Library dedicated at Lake Fern Road & Highway 41. Lutz Branch Library
1971 January Plant City Library addition completed.
1972 January North Tampa Branch expanded.
1975 February 25 The Talking Book Library, established to serve blind & physically handicapped Hillsborough County residents, opens.
1975 April 20 West Gate Branch dedicates new building at 7606 Paula Drive. West Gate Branch Library
1975 Brandon Branch Library begins expansion.
1976 May 23 Main Library dedicates West Annex Building.
1976 April 4 Brandon Branch Library completes expansion.
1977 June Citrus Park/Keystone Branch opens at North Mobley Road & Gunn Highway. Citrus Park/Keystone Branch Library
1977 North Tampa Branch re-modeled; plaque given in commemoration.
1978 November 4 East Gate Branch Library opens in a storefront in the East Gate Shopping Center. East Gate Branch Library
1978 Temple Terrace Library expansion dedicated.
1979 November 18 Riverview Branch Library opens at 10509 Riverview Drive.
1984 Chapter 84-443, Laws of FloridaCreates the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System administrated by Hillsborough County.
1985 February 27 Ruskin Branch Library opens new addition.
1985 December 31 East Gate storefront library closes.
1986 December 7 Northwest Regional Library opens at 15610 Premiere Drive. Northwest Regional Library
1986 October Automated library catalog introduced via a system known as CLSI.
1988 April 29 Eastlake Branch Library opens in the Eastlake Square Shopping Mall. Eastlake Branch Library
1989 July 13 College Hill Branch Library opens, in temporary quarters, at 2607 East Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.
1989 July 22 Thonotosassa Branch Library opens at 10715 Main Street. Thonotosassa Branch Library
1990 Tampa's sixth & largest bookmobile begins service. Bookmobile
1991 March 10 Brandon Regional Library opens new building at 619 Vonderburg Drive. Brandon Regional Library
1992 November 5 Groundbreaking for the Austin Davis Branch Library to replace the Citrus Park/Keystone branch begins.
1993 May 23 Austin Davis Public Library opens at 17808 Wayne Road. Austin Davis Public Library
1993 June 24 Groundbreaking for the new College Hill Branch Library begins.
1993 Library catalog automation is upgraded and enhanced thru a system known as DYNIX. Introduces remote access to the library catalog via telnet & dial-up.
1994 February 27 College Hill Branch Library opens new building at 2607 East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. College Hill Branch Library
1994 Sunday hours begun at select location around system.
1994 October 28 Family Self-Sufficiency Unit officially opens within the Tampa Housing Authority. Family Self-Sufficiency Unit Library
1995 March 15 Sponsored by the Friends of the Hillsborough County Public Library System, the free, online computing initiative, known as the Suncoast Free-Net, launches. Suncoast Free-Net
1995 System begins deployment of public use computers offering access to the library catalog, text-based Internet via the Suncoast Free-Net & basic word processing capability.
1995 System debuts the first website at thpl.org.
1995 July 15 Science Library at MOSI is dedicated at 4801 East Fowler Avenue. Science Library @ MOSI
1995 November West Gate Branch becomes West Gate Regional.
1995 December 22 Bealsville Electric Library dedicated. Bealsville eLibrary
1996 March 29 Groundbreaking for New Tampa Regional Library at 10001 Cross Creek Boulevard.
1996 May 23 Groundbreaking for 78th Street Branch Library at 7626 Palm River Road.
1997 May 4 Dedication of New Tampa Regional Library. New Tampa Regional Library
1997 May 18 Dedication of 78th Street Community Branch Library. 78th Street Community Library
1997 July 15 Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System enters into formal partnership with the Hillsborough County School Board for a jointly operated library at the Egypt Lake Elementary School.
1998 January Library catalog automation is enhanced for internal users via a graphical interface known as PAC for Windows.
1998 May 11 Eastlake Branch Library closes in preparation of relocation to Seffner-Mango.
1998 June 14 Port Tampa City Library re-opens in newly renovated Commerce Bank Building. Port Tampa City Library
1998 November Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners mandates use of Internet filter. Library Board recommends Websense after careful review of available alternatives.
1998 December 28 Seffner-Mango Branch Library opens. Seffner-Mango Branch Library
1999 January 19 Websense and Checkpoint Firewall-1 successfully installed to manage content filtering and provide a layered security approach protecting library servers and individual PCs.
1999 July 1 Electronic Library at Progress Village Recreation Center opens. Progress Village eLibrary
1999 July 6 Electronic Library at Bethune Park Recreation Center opens. Bethune Park eLibrary
1999 September 1 The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative is formed.
1999 November 5 Main Library re-named in honor of John F. Germany. John F. Germany
2000 January 1 Centralized telephone, eMail & FAX service begins via Electronic Reference & Information.
2000 February 14 Electronic Library at Balm Park Recreation Center opens. Balm eLibrary
2000 February 16 Electronic Library at Keysville Recreation Center opens. Keysville eLibrary
2000 May 5 Groundbreaking for the new Northwest Regional Library begins.
2000 September 1 Egypt Lake Partnership Library opens. Egypt Lake Regional Library
2000 November Funding approved for two new libraries in the Westchase area and south Brandon area.
2000 December 11 Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library opens with library system's first drive-thru window! Jan Platt Regional Library
2001 February 2 The Northwest Regional Library closes.
2001 February 14 Northwest Regional Library opens at 2902 West Bearss Avenue.
2001 June 9 Northwest Regional Library renamed Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library in honor of former assistant county administrator.
2001 September 30 The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative debuts cooperative website at hcplc.org.
2001 October 1 Library automation extended to remote users via RPA (Remote Patron Authentication) allowing remote users to access subscription databases from their home or office.
2001 November 5 Peninsular Branch Library renamed Charles J. Fendig Public Library in honor of former chairman of the Tampa Public Library Board, Charles J. Fendig.
2002 January Websense, library's content filtering solution, certified CIPA compliant.
2002 June First library café, Bookends Café, opens in June 2002 at the Jan Platt Regional Library. Bookends Café
2002 August 30 Web access to library catalog for internal and external customers is introduced via platform known as iPAC.
2002 September 23 West Tampa groundbreaking for 5,000-square-foot addition.
2003 July Seminole Heights Branch Library closes for refurbishment.
2003 August Library catalog automation is further enhanced and upgraded via a system known as HORIZON.
2003 September West Tampa 5,000-square-foot addition completed. Library is moved from original Carnegie space to the addition. Original Carnegie building undergoes refurbishment.
2003 October 1 Sponsored by the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System, the Suncoast Free-Net receives significant upgrades and enhancements. The service is re-released providing web-based eMail services, dialup (text-only) access & links to local area information/sites.
2003 October 13 Seminole heights Branch Library re-opens with updated AC and decor.
2003 November 5 Hillsborough County's BOCC vote to rename the Ybor City Library as the Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library to honor Robert W. Saunders, Sr.
2003 December 8 Groundbreaking for the South Brandon area library.
2003 December 12 Groundbreaking for the Westchase area library.
2003 December 13 Lutz Branch Library closes for expansion project. Services provided through "mini-library" in meeting room.
2004 March 1 Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library closes for month long refurbishment of facility.
2004 March 10 Three new eLibraries open: Mort Recreation Center, Palm River Recreation Center & Kenly Park.
2004 March 17 Two new eLibraries open: Tampa Lakes Center at Roy Haynes Park & Nuccio Park.
2004 April 1 Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library re-opens with enhanced lighting, new furniture & computer improvements.
2004 April 29 Refurbishments completed to original West Tampa Branch Library's Carnigie building. West Tampa Branch Library officially re-dedicated.
2004 May 1 The original Carnegie building re-opens providing community meeting room and wireless computer lab.
2004 Wi-Fi access is introduced to the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System at the West Tampa Branch Library.
2004 June 1 Lutz Branch Library re-opens with a 5,000 square foot expansion. The facility now stands at 12,000 square feet.
2004 June 5 Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library officially re-dedicated.
2004 August 18 Three new eLibraries open, Brandon Park (Brandon Recreation Center), Mango (Mango Recreation Center), Sterling Heights (Sterling Heights Park).
2004 October 28 New eLibrary opens, Providence Park (Providence Park West Recreation Center).
2004 November 1 Library system introduces time management software, PC Reservation, by Envisionware, to cope with increased demand for Internet use at the main library, regional libraries and the North Tampa Branch Library.
2004 December 1 System begins deployment of mobile training labs (security/charging carts with 8 student laptops, 1 instructor laptop & data projector) to assist in popular technology related programming. Two distributed to West Tampa & John F. Germany libraries.
2005 January 8 Upper Tampa Bay Regional Public Library dedicated.
2005 February 10 Bloomingdale Regional Public Library dedicated.
2005 March 1 Library Services Automation Department, eServices, introduces an automated call tracking system, SiteHelpDesk.
2005 April 7 Groundbreaking South County Regional Library.
2005 May 8 Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) introduced at Upper Tampa Bay Regional and Bloomingdale Regional. Allows better inventory and security of material as well as proactive customer service through introduction of Self-Checkout (SCKO).
2005 May 17 All full-service library locations offer Wi-Fi (wireless) access.
2005 June 1 After 10 years & fulfilling its original mission, the Suncoast Free-Net officially ceases operations. Suncoast Free-Net
2005 August 22 Loretta Ingraham eLibrary opens in the Loretta Ingraham Center continuing partnership with City of Tampa eLibrary initiative.
2005 September 16 5 additional mobile training labs deployed.
2006 May 11 New service to enable better access to Spanish population, Cybermobile, officially dedicated. Bus provides Internet access via satellite with wireless internal capability. Cybermobile
2006 May 19 Envisionware's time management reservation software, PC Reservation, fully implemented at all 24 library locations.
2006 May 22 Technical Services Center opens.
2006 July 28 7 additional mobile training labs deployed with three funded via Gates grant.
2006 October 12 SouthShore Regional Library opens. Official grand opening and dedication ceremony is held on November 12.
2006 November 17 The Juniors to Seniors: Hillsborough Remembers oral history project is renamed Hillsborough Remembers to reflect the broadened scope of the project.
2006 November 27 New Bookmobile is delivered (service begins January 2007). While this vehicle is designed as a replacement to the existing twelve year old bookmobile, it will utilize the same satellite technology the existing Cybermobile employs. Cybermobile
2007 March 15 West Gate Regional Library closes in preparation for a new "partnership" building on the existing site.
2007 May 16 The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners approves a recommendation to rename the replacement West Gate library as the "Town 'N Country Regional Public Library."
2007 June 11 The Town 'N Country Regional Public Library reopened at its temporary location in the Thompson Center Waters.
2008 February 14 Groundbreaking for the new Seffner-Mango Branch Library to replace 6,000sq ft storefront with a new 15,000sq ft facility. It will house space for meeting rooms, a separate children's area, study rooms and a science room that will provide a unique learning area for students of all ages.
2008 April 12 North Tampa Branch library closes in preparation for new facility to be built on existing location. Library re-opens at its temporary location in the Thompson Center Waters (temporarily sharing space with Town 'N Country location).
2008 April 22 Dedication of the Sandra Raulerson Cameron Boardroom takes place at the John F. Germany Public Library. Ms. Cameron was a member of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Library Board from April 26, 1979 to June 30, 2006. During that time, she held several offices including serving twice as chairman.
2008 December 3 Town 'N Country Commons Grand Opening. A ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opens the doors to the public of this facility, which includes the 30,000 square foot Town 'N Country Regional Public Library. Town 'N Country Commons
2008 December 29 Seffner-Mango Branch Library opens to the public. This 15,000-square-foot library will host 35,000 additional materials for a total collection of 75,000. Seffner-Mango Branch Library
2009 January 15 Seffner-Mango Branch Library Grand Opening.
2009 April Library undertakes initiative to provide mounted presentation systems in all library locations to enhance meetings, trainings and gaming efforts by the Friends of the Library.
2009 May 29 Groundbreaking for walkway to connect Robert W. Saunders, Jr. Branch Library and Booker T. Washington Elementary School
2009 July 9 Kids version of the catalog, KidPAC, goes live.
2009 July 13 HCPLC debuts text messaging service for library programs, events and news.
2009 September 17 New North Tampa Branch Library opens to the public. This 23,550 square foot library will host 9,000 additional materials for a total collection of 76,000 volumes. In addition, this is the first facility to offer primarily self checkout and self checkin of materials.
2009 September 18 North Tampa Library Grand Opening includes a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony.
2009 September 25 Migration of home grown Wi-Fi solution to a managed enterprise system is completed system-wide.
2009 September 29 New covered walkway connecting Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Library to Booker T. Washington Elementary School opens for use.
2009 October 1 New library home page at hcplc.org and new library catalog design debuts. Email notification service for circulation debuts as well.
2009 October 30 Presentation system project completed allowing for public and staff use of equipment for training, presentations and gaming through efforts by various Friends of the Library.
2010 January 7 New Internet Center at John F. Germany Public Library opens to the public on 3 West. This addition of nearly 10,000 square feet of space for public access is the first significant addition of space converted to public use at the John F. Germany Public Library for nearly 30 years.
2010 February 22 Sulphur Springs Partnership Library opens to the public. This library adds 3,500 square feet to the Sulphur Springs Elementary School Media Center, additional staffing and enhanced hours of operation. Sulphur Springs Partnership Library
2010 June 30 Sulphur Springs Partnership Library Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony.
2010 August 26 Library Board approves renaming two libraries. The College Hill Branch Library is renamed the C. Blythe Andrews, Jr. Public Library and the Sulphur Springs Partnership Library is renamed the Norma and Joseph Robinson Partnership Library @ Sulphur Springs.
2010 November 1 Mobile version of HCPLC website released.
2010 December 6 The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative releases new cooperative website at hcplc.org.
2011 January 3 HCPLC debuts text messaging service for circulation notices.
2011 February 9 A dedication ceremony renaming the College Hill Library to the C. Blythe Andrews, Jr. Public Library is held.
2011 March 18 Automated traffic counting devices installed system-wide.
2011 April 29 Science Library @ MOSI closes.
2011 November 2 THPL debuts Facebook page.
2012 February 3 THPL debuts Twitter page.
2013 April 29 New online library catalog, Polaris, released. New catalog includes mobile capabilities, improved search features, and a special children's catalog among other new enhancements and tools for customers.
2013 Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System is one of the recipients of the NEH/ALA Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys program.
2013 Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System is one of ten sites selected from across the country to participate in the StoryCorps @ your library pilot program. The project includes collecting oral histories of African Americans in Hillsborough County.
2013 December 30 New version of THPL.org released.
2014 January 1 West Tampa Branch Library 100th Anniversary celebration.
2014 February 12 Newly rebuilt Seminole Heights Branch Library opens to the public.
2014 March 7 Groundbreaking for new Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library.
2014 March 17 Seminole Heights Branch Library grand opening ceremony.
2014 May 15 Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library Expansion ribbon cutting ceremony.
2014 May 18 Virginia Rivers Storytelling Resource Center dedication ceremony at the John F. Germany Public Library.
2014 May 23 Bloomingdale Regional Library Expansion ribbon cutting ceremony.
2014 May 28 Upper Tampa Bay Regional Library Expansion ribbon cutting ceremony.
2014 November 15 The Hive, a 10,000 sq. ft. public community innovation center and makerspace, opens at John F. Germany Public Library.
2014 December 1 Online payments goes live.
2015 February 23 Online library card registration goes live.
2015 March 25 The James J. Lunsford Law Library, the public law library for Hillsborough County, officially joins the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library.
2015 July 16 Newly rebuilt Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library opens to the public.
2015 August 12 Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library ribbon cutting ceremony.