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In 1903 a group of Gainesville women organized a literary society which evolved over the years into the Gainesville Public Library, later the Santa Fe Regional Library and, in 1986, the Alachua County Library District. The first branch libraries opened in 1959 and the first bookmobile was dedicated the same year. By 1997 there were nine branch libraries in addition to Headquarters. The library did not have its own home until 1918. Shortly before World War I, the Twentieth Century Club (the Gainesville women's club) spearheaded a drive to raise $10,000 to establish a new library building, and they appealed to the Carnegie Library Association for aid. The Carnegie people agreed on the condition that the city provide land and upkeep. This was put to a vote and Gainesville's citizens voted to accept a tax-supported library. The Carnegie library building in this photograph was opened at 419 East University Avenue in 1918. This building was replaced on the same site by a new, more spacious building in 1956. The next building was across the street at 222 East University Avenue, and this was replaced in 1991 by a 78,000 sq. ft. building, constructed basically on the site of the original Carnegie Library-just west of Sweetwater Branch on the south side of East University Avenue. Incidentally, the site is also the location of Gainesville's first public school for white children, built in 1885. This postcard was copied with the permission of Archie L. Jackson.
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