JPL Logo
My Account Image for Link

"How Do I...?"

 

A Timeline of JPL History

(For a brief history of the library before October 3, 1903, click here.)

1903
  • On October 3, 1903, ground was broken for the Carnegie library on the northeast corner of Adams and Ocean.
1905
  • June 1: The Jacksonville Free Public Library opened as the first tax supported library in Florida. Located at 101 East Adams Street, the building was financed through a $50,000 Carnegie Grant. All items in the collection on opening day come from donations by private individuals.
  • George B. Utley is the first Librarian.
1910
  • George B. Utley resigns from position as Librarian to become Secretary for the American Library Association. Joseph Wheeler is appointed Librarian.
1911
  • Joseph Wheeler resigns position; Lloyd W. Josselyn is appointed Librarian.
1919
  • Lloyd W. Josselyn resigns from position as Librarian.
1920
  • Joseph F. Marron becomes Chief Librarian of the Jacksonville Free Public Library.
ca.1923
  • Jacksonville Free Public Library changes name to Jacksonville Public Library.
1927
1928
  • October 30: Jacksonville initiated the first bookmobile service in Florida.
1930
1930
1932
  • January 1: Southside Library at 1450 Home Street designated a branch of the Jacksonville Public Library when City of Jacksonville annexed South Jacksonville.
1941
  • March 6: Northeast Branch opened at 2100 Franklin Street.
1950
  • January 3: Southside Branch moved to a new building at 1565 Hendricks Avenue.
1956
1959
1959
1961
1961
1965
  • June 12: Myrtle Avenue Branch opened at 2304 North Myrtle Avenue replacing Wilder Park Branch.
  • November 29: Haydon Burns Public Library opened at 122 North Ocean Street, becoming the new Main Library.
    With the increased space at the new Main Library, the Business & Science Documents and Arts & Music collections are created.
    The old Main Library remains accessible to the public, now known as the Bedell Building. It is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.
1966
1968
  • October 1: Free library service offered to all Duval County residents under Consolidation of Jacksonville (the union of the governments of both Jacksonville and Duval County).
1969
1969
  • October 1: Jacksonville Public Library assumed operation of Jacksonville Beach Library as a service of the new Consolidated Government.
1970
  • May 26: Northeast Branch phased out.
1973
1975
1977
1979
1983
  • Jacksonville Public Library System adopts the new name of Jacksonville Public Libraries.
  • Director Harry Brinton retires from Jacksonville Public Libraries.
1984
  • The Main Library becomes one of the first libraries in the country to begin working with a computer-based circulation system by testing JIM (Jacksonville Information Machine), a system created by the Burroughs Corporation (later to be known as UNISYS).
  • James Nelson becomes Director.
  • January 1: The Jacksonville Public Library system establishes an online catalog accessible to the public, phasing out the card catalog. Internet access is available through FIRN, the Florida Information Resources Network. The name JAXCAT (Jacksonville Catalog) is adopted.
  • Later in the year, Judith Williams, who started in the JPL system in 1971, replaces James Nelson as Director of Jacksonville Public Libraries.
1985
  • October 24: Highlands Branch opened at 1826 Dunn Avenue. It is the first automated branch in the system. All branches opening after Highlands also operate with the Burroughs software (JAXCAT).
1986
  • The Jacksonville Public Library Foundation, Inc. is formed. Its mission is to provide the resources that enhance and enrich the Jacksonville Public Library. It encourages investments in the future of our library through various opportunities, such as donations, grants, and planned programs and events.
  • May 20: Beaches Branch opened at 600 Third Street replacing the Jacksonville Beach Library.
  • June 17: Mandarin Branch opened at 3330 Kori Road.
1991
1992
1993
  • February 1: The Library switches from the former Burroughs software to a new circulation system. DRA is the library's first catalog available to the public via the World Wide Web. Customers are able to view checkouts, fees, and fines online. Ability to place holds and renew items via the Internet is implemented shortly thereafter.
1994
1995
1996
  • August: Director Judith Williams retires after 25 years in the Jacksonville Public Libraries system. Sylvia Cornell is appointed Acting Director.
1997
  • Library installs first personal computers for public use.
  • May 31: Willowbranch Branch reopened after historic preservation and building addition.
  • June: Kenneth G. Sivulich becomes Director of Jacksonville Public Libraries. Changes name of the system to Jacksonville Public Library to reflect the library's organization as a central unit with branches.
  • October 25: Southeast Branch opens at 10599 Deerwood Park Boulevard.
1999
  • May 22: Regency Square Branch reopened after expansion and renovation at 9900 Regency Square Boulevard.
2000
  • September 5:Jacksonville residents voted to approve The Better Jacksonville Plan, including funds for a new main library to be completed by 2004, six new branch locations to be completed by 2005, and improvements to most existing library locations.
2001
2002
  • December 16: Ground is broken for Jacksonville's new Main Library at 202 N Laura St.
2003
  • April 19: San Marco Branch reopened after extensive expansion and renovation at 1513 LaSalle Street.
  • December 11: Jacksonville Public Library switches from using the DRA Circulation Software to the Unicorn Workflows system run by SIRSI Corporation.
  • Beginning late 2003, Self-check machines can be used at limited locations, beginning with the Regency Square Regional Library.
2004
2005
2006
2007
  • January 9: Construction begins on the Shelby's cafe in the Main Library.
  • January 10: The library launches a web-based survey called "Counting Opinions" to elicit feedback from the public regarding its services and impact on the community.
  • January 12: JPL offers an electronic newsletter via the NextReads service. The service is supported by the Friends of the Jacksonville Public Library. Customers are able to receive emails listing upcoming publications as well as brief news on the library.
  • March 12: West Regional Library begins “Drive Up Window” service. Customers are able to return items, renew current checkouts, and pick up reserves available for checkout.
  • May 14: Shelby's Cafe begins service in the Main Library.