Home Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library Library History

Timeline

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 & a special election is held.

West Tampa Branch Library

1914, January 1

West Tampa Library opens at 1718 North Howard Avenue.

1915, June 30

City of Tampa formally accepts Carnegie building at 102 East Seventh Avenue.

7th Avenue Library

1917

Tampa Public Library begins service at 102 East Seventh Avenue. Find more about the library's Seventh Avenue origins.

1919

A library for Negroes opens at the Harlem Academy.

Hyde Park Branch Library

1922, July

Hyde Park Branch Library opens at 705 Swann Avenue.

Desoto Park Library

1923

Desoto Park Branch opens.

Harlem Branch Library

1923, July

Harlem Academy Library moves to the Urban League Headquarters.

1925, January 1

West Tampa Library merges with Tampa Public Library System.

1927

Plant City Women's Club funds a library.

Seminole heights Branch Library

1927, January 4

Seminole Heights Branch Library opens in the neighborhood park.

Tampa Public Library Bookcar

1930, July

Tampa's first Bookcar visits factories & schools.

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 a library at corner of West Shore & Bayshore Boulevards.

First bookmobile - Traveling Branch

1954

Tampa's second City Bookmobile begins serving Ballast Point, Forest Hills, Palma Ceia, Sulphur Springs & Wellswood.

1960, October 29

Peninsular Branch opens at 3837 Neptune.

1960

Brandon Women's Club opens a library in the clubhouse on North Moon Street.

1960

Plant City dedicates a new library at Wheeler & McLendon Streets.

1960

Temple Terrace Woman's Club opens a library in a building on the golf course.

1961

City & County consolidate libraries into one system by contract.

Port Tampa Library

1961

Port Tampa Library becomes a branch of the system.

1962

A third County bookmobile is purchased.

1962

Temple Terrace Women's Club Library merges into City system and moves to Municipal Center.

North Tampa Branch Library building

1964, January 13

North Tampa Branch Library opens at 8916 North Boulevard.

1964, July 26

Ruskin Women's Club Library incorporates.

Bulldozer clearing ground

1965, April 25

Ground is broken for a new Main Library on Ashley Street.

1965

The Main Library is designated a selective depository for federal government documents.

1965

Lutz Library Guild opens a library on Lutz school grounds.

Seminole heights Branch Library building 1965

1965

Seminole Heights Branch opens a new building at the corner of Central & Osborne Avenues.

1965

West Branch Library closes.

Temple Terrace Library

1966, April 17

Temple Terrace Library is dedicated at 202 Bullard Parkway.

Ruskin Branch Library

1966, June 5

Ruskin dedicates a new branch library at One Dickman Drive.

1966

Tampa's fourth and largest bookmobile begins service.

1967

Remodeling of the North Tampa Branch completed.

1967

The Main Library is designated as a depository for documents issued by the State of Florida.

New Main Library

1968, April 21

The Main Library is dedicated at 900 North Ashley Drive.

Peninsular Branch Library

1968, August 28

Peninsular Branch opens new building at 3909 Neptune Street.

Brandon Branch Library

1968

Brandon Branch Library is dedicated at 135 West Robertson Street.

1968

Hyde Park Branch Library closes.

1969, January

Westgate Branch opens in West Hillsborough Avenue storefront.

Ybor City Branch Library

1969

Ybor City Branch Library dedicates a new building at 1505 N. Nebraska Avenue.

1969

East Branch (formerly Harlem) and original Ybor City Branch close.

Bookmobile

1970, January

Special Services' fifth bookmobile, serving nursing homes, is dedicated.

Lutz Branch Library

1970

Lutz Branch Library is dedicated at Lake Fern Road & Highway 41.

1971, January

Plant City Library addition completed.

1972, January

North Tampa Branch expanded.

1972, February 25

The Talking Book Library, established to serve blind & physically handicapped Hillsborough County residents, opens.

West Gate Branch Library

1975, April 20

West Gate Branch dedicates a new building at 7606 Paula Drive.

1975

Brandon Branch Library begins expansion.

1976, April 4

Brandon Branch Library completes expansion.

1976, May 23

Main Library dedicates West Annex Building.

Citrus Park/Keystone Branch Library

1977, June

Citrus Park/Keystone Branch opens at North Mobley Road & Gunn Highway.

1977

North Tampa Branch re-modeled; plaque given in commemoration.

East Gate Branch Library

1978, November 4

East Gate Branch Library opens in a storefront in the East Gate Shopping Center.

1978

Temple Terrace Library expansion dedicated.

1979, November 18

Riverview Branch Library opens at 10509 Riverview Drive.

1984

Chapter 84-443, Laws of Florida creates the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System administrated by Hillsborough County.

1985, February 27

Ruskin Branch Library opens a new addition.

1985, December 31

East Gate storefront library closes.

Northwest Regional Library

1986, December 7

Northwest Regional Library opens at 15610 Premiere Drive.

1986, October

Automated library catalog is introduced via a system known as CLSI.

Eastlake Branch Library

1988, April 29

Eastlake Branch Library opens in the Eastlake Square Shopping Mall.

1989, July 13

College Hill Branch Library opens in temporary quarters at 2607 East Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

Thonotosassa Branch Library

1989, July 22

Thonotosassa Branch Library opens at 10715 Main Street.

Bookmobile

1990

Tampa's sixth and largest bookmobile begins service.

Brandon Regional Library

1991, March 10

Brandon Regional Library opens new building at 619 Vonderburg Drive.

1992, November 5

Groundbreaking for the Austin Davis Branch Library to replace the Citrus Park/Keystone branch begins.

Austin Davis Public Library

1993, May 23

Austin Davis Public Library opens at 17808 Wayne Road.

1993, June 24

Groundbreaking for the new College Hill Branch Library is held.

1993

The library catalog is upgraded and enhanced through a system known as DYNIX, introducing remote access to the library catalog via telnet & dial-up.

College Hill Branch Library

1994, February 27

College Hill Branch Library opens new building at 2607 East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

1994

Sunday hours begin at select location around system.

Family Self-Sufficiency Unit Library

1994, October 28

Family Self-Sufficiency Unit officially opens within the Tampa Housing Authority.

Suncoast Free-Net

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.

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

Library debuts its first website at thpl.org.

Science Library @ MOSI

1995, July 15

Science Library at MOSI is dedicated at 4801 East Fowler Avenue.

1995, November

West Gate Branch becomes West Gate Regional.

Bealsville eLibrary

1995, December 22

Bealsville Electric Library is dedicated.

1996, March 29

Ground is broken for New Tampa Regional Library at 10001 Cross Creek Boulevard.

1996, May 23

Ground is broken for 78th Street Branch Library at 7626 Palm River Road.

New Tampa Regional Library

1997, May 4

New Tampa Regional Library is dedicated.

78th Street Community Library

1997, May 18

78th Street Community Branch Library is dedicated.

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.

Port Tampa City Library

1998, June 14

Port Tampa City Library re-opens in newly renovated Commerce Bank Building.

1998, November

Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners mandates use of Internet filter. Library Board recommends Websense after careful review of available alternatives.

Seffner-Mango Branch Library

1998, December 28

Seffner-Mango Branch Library opens.

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.

Progress Village eLibrary

1999, July 1

Electronic Library at Progress Village Recreation Center opens.

Bethune Park eLibrary

1999, July 6

Electronic Library at Bethune Park Recreation Center opens.

1999, September 1

The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative is formed.

John F. Germany

1999, November 5

Main Library re-named in honor of John F. Germany.

2000, January 1

Centralized telephone, eMail & FAX service begins via Electronic Reference & Information.

Balm eLibrary

2000, February 14

Electronic Library at Balm Park Recreation Center opens.

Keysville eLibrary

2000, February 16

Electronic Library at Keysville Recreation Center opens.

2000, May 5

Ground is broken for the new Northwest Regional Library.

Egypt Lake Regional Library

2000, September 1

Egypt Lake Partnership Library opens.

2000, November

Funding is approved for two new libraries in the Westchase area and south Brandon area.

Jan Platt Regional Library

2000, December 11

Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library opens with library system's first drive-thru window.

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 is 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, is certified CIPA compliant.

Bookends Café

2002, June

First library café, Bookends Café, opens in June 2002 at the Jan Platt Regional Library.

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 is held.

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 is completed. The library is moved from the original Carnegie space to the addition. The 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 votes to rename the Ybor City Library as the Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library to honor Robert W. Saunders, Sr.

2003, December 8

Ground is broken for the South Brandon area library.

2003, December 12

Ground is broken for the Westchase area library.

2003, December 13

Lutz Branch Library closes for expansion project. Services is rovided 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 to the original West Tampa Branch Library's Carnigie building are completed. West Tampa Branch Library is 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.

2005, June 5

Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library is 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 are distributed to West Tampa & John F. Germany libraries.

2005, January 8

Upper Tampa Bay Regional Public Library is dedicated.

2005, February 10

Bloomingdale Regional Public Library is dedicated.

2005, April 7

Ground is broken for the 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.

Suncoast Free-Net

2005, June 1

After 10 years and fulfilling its original mission, the Suncoast Free-Net officially ceases operations.

2005, August 22

Loretta Ingraham eLibrary opens in the Loretta Ingraham Center, continuing a partnership with City of Tampa eLibrary initiative.

2005, September 16

Five additional mobile training labs are deployed.

Cybermobile

2006, May 11

A new service to enable better access to Spanish population, Cybermobile, is officially dedicated. This bus provides Internet access via satellite with wireless internal capability.

2006, May 19

Envisionware's time management reservation software, PC Reservation, is fully implemented at all 24 library locations.

2006, May 22

Technical Services Center opens.

2006, July 28

Seven additional mobile training labs are 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.

Cybermobile with satellite dish

2006, November 27

New Bookmobile is delivered (service begins January 2007). While designed as a replacement to the existing twelve year old bookmobile, it utilizes the same satellite technology as the existing Cybermobile.

2007, march 25

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 reopens at its temporary location in the Thompson Center Waters.

2008, February 14

Ground is broken for the new Seffner-Mango Branch Library to replace 6,000 sq. ft. storefront with a new 15,000 sq. 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.

Town 'N Country Commons

2008, December 3

Town 'N Country Commons Grand Opening is held. 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.

Seffner-Mango Branch Library

2008, December 29

Seffner-Mango Branch Library opens to the public, hosting 35,000 additional materials for a total collection of 75,000.

2009, January 15

Seffner-Mango Branch Library Grand Opening is held.

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 a walkway to connect Robert W. Saunders, Jr. Branch Library and Booker T. Washington Elementary School is held.

2009, July 9

A 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 hosts 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 is 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.

Sulphur Springs Partnership Library

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.

2010, June 30

Sulphur Springs Partnership Library Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony is held.

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 a new cooperative website at hcplc.org.

2011, Jaunary 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 are 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, is 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 is held.

2014, February 12

Newly rebuilt Seminole Heights Branch Library opens to the public.

2014, March 7

Ground is broken for new Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library.

2014, March 17

Seminole Heights Branch Library grand opening ceremony is held.

2014, May 15

Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library Expansion ribbon cutting ceremony is held.

2014, May 18

Virginia Rivers Storytelling Resource Center dedication ceremony at the John F. Germany Public Library is held.

2014, May 23

Bloomingdale Regional Library Expansion ribbon cutting ceremony is held.

2014, May 28

Upper Tampa Bay Regional Library Expansion ribbon cutting ceremony.

2014, July 22

Discovery Pass program debuts, offering free admission to participating local cultural attractions.

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 system goes live.

2015, February 23

Online library card registration goes live.

2015, March 25

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 is held.

2016, January 19

First in the series of public Open Houses re conducted to inform the library’s strategic planning and 2020 Vision.

Library Logo

2016, January 19

New logo for Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative is unveiled.

2017, August 2

Upper Tampa Regional Public Library is renamed Maureen B. Gauzza Public Library.

2017, August 4

Hillsborough All Access Libraries (HAAL) Pass debuts in partnership with the School District of Hillsborough County. The student ID number serves as a public library card to access online resources and materials from any public library branch with no overdue fines or lost book fees.

2018, January 1

HCPLC stops charging late fines on materials that are overdue and launches the Just Bring It Back campaign.

Arthenia L. Joyner University Area Community Library

2018, January 30

Arthenia L. Joyner University Area Community Library opens to the public. The official grand opening and dedication ceremony is held on March 18.

2018, November 20

Arthenia L. Joyner University Area Community Library is recognized by Library Journal for its architectural collaboration between Tampa–Hillsborough County Public Library and the School District of Hillsborough County.

2019, March 18

HCPLC Connect, the new online library catalog, is released. This new catalog offers fully responsive mobile capability, improved search experience, reading recommendations, community-created content, and an easier process for purchase suggestions.

2019, April

Ground is broken for the new Riverview Branch Library.

2019, May 20

Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library is named Library of the Year by the Florida Library Association.

2019, May 26

C. Blythe Andrews, Jr. Public Library ribbon cutting ceremony is held.

C. Blythe Andrews Public Library

2019, May 29

Newly rebuilt C. Blythe Andrews, Jr. Public Library opens to the public.

Library2Go

2019, June 3

Library2Go, a mobile library van, replaces the Bookmobile and begins service. Library2Go extends the service area of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library to residents who may not have the opportunity to visit.

2020, May 26

Curbside Services for holds pickup debuts.

2020, June 7

Borrow by Mail, a convenient home delivery option, goes live.