Home Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library Library History
1912, October 29
Referendum passes to accept Andrew Carnegie funds to build a library for the City of Tampa.
West Tampa City Council approves Carnegie Library proposal & a special election is held.
1915, June 30
City of Tampa formally accepts Carnegie building at 102 East Seventh Avenue.
Tampa Public Library begins service at 102 East Seventh Avenue. Find more about the library's Seventh Avenue origins.
A library for Negroes opens at the Harlem Academy.
1925, January 1
West Tampa Library merges with Tampa Public Library System.
Plant City Women's Club funds a library.
Ybor City Branch Library opens at 1729 East Broadway.
West Branch Library opens at 1129 Main Street.
Helen V. Stelle served as the Director of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library from 1917 to 1947.
Port Tampa Women's Club opens a library at corner of West Shore & Bayshore Boulevards.
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.
Brandon Women's Club opens a library in the clubhouse on North Moon Street.
Plant City dedicates a new library at Wheeler & McLendon Streets.
Temple Terrace Woman's Club opens a library in a building on the golf course.
City & County consolidate libraries into one system by contract.
A third County bookmobile is purchased.
Temple Terrace Women's Club Library merges into City system and moves to Municipal Center.
1964, July 26
Ruskin Women's Club Library incorporates.
The Main Library is designated a selective depository for federal government documents.
Lutz Library Guild opens a library on Lutz school grounds.
West Branch Library closes.
William S. Frieze, Jr. served as the Director of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library from 1947 to 1965.
Tampa's fourth and largest bookmobile begins service.
Remodeling of the North Tampa Branch completed.
The Main Library is designated as a depository for documents issued by the State of Florida.
Hyde Park Branch Library closes.
Westgate Branch opens in West Hillsborough Avenue storefront.
East Branch (formerly Harlem) and original Ybor City Branch close.
Plant City Library addition completed.
North Tampa Branch expanded.
1972, February 25
The Talking Book Library, established to serve blind & physically handicapped Hillsborough County residents, opens.
Cecil P. Beach served as the Director of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library from 1965 to 1972.
Brandon Branch Library begins expansion.
1976, April 4
Brandon Branch Library completes expansion.
1976, May 23
Main Library dedicates West Annex Building.
North Tampa Branch re-modeled; plaque given in commemoration.
Temple Terrace Library expansion dedicated.
1979, November 18
Riverview Branch Library opens at 10509 Riverview Drive.
Leo H. Meirose, Sr. served as the Director of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library from 1972 to 1982.
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.
Automated library catalog is introduced via a system known as CLSI.
1989, July 13
College Hill Branch Library opens in temporary quarters at 2607 East Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.
John Merlin Adams served as the Director of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library from 1983 to 1991.
1992, November 5
Groundbreaking for the Austin Davis Branch Library to replace the Citrus Park/Keystone branch begins.
1993, June 24
Groundbreaking for the new College Hill Branch Library is held.
The library catalog is upgraded and enhanced through a system known as DYNIX, introducing 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.
Sunday hours begin at select location around system.
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.
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.
Library debuts its first website at thpl.org.
West Gate Branch becomes West Gate Regional.
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.
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.
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.
Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners mandates use of Internet filter. Library Board recommends Websense after careful review of available alternatives.
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, September 1
The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative is formed.
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.
2000, May 5
Ground is broken for the new Northwest Regional Library.
Funding is 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.
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.
Websense, library's content filtering solution, is certified CIPA compliant.
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.
Seminole Heights Branch Library closes for refurbishment.
Library catalog automation is further enhanced and upgraded via a system known as HORIZON.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System is one of the recipients of the NEH/ALA Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys program.
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.
Joe R. Stines served as the Director of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library from 1992 to 2015.
2016, January 19
First in the series of public Open Houses re conducted to inform the library’s strategic planning and 2020 Vision.
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.
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.
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.
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.