In November of 1901, a plan for a public library was embraced by Atlantic City residents in a landslide referendum, with 6,062 voters in favor and only 30 opposed. Thus the Atlantic City Free Public Library was established, using as its nucleus 1,000 books from a small, privately-run library opened a few years earlier by the Women's Research Club, a cultural organization that still exists today.
The Library's first quarters were in the third floor of City Hall, located at Tennessee and Atlantic Avenues, where service began on April 3, 1902. The Library formally opened its doors on January 1, 1903, in a wood frame house at Illinois and Pacific Avenues. The land at this site had been recently purchased to be the Library's permanent location and became the Library's home for the subsequent eight decades. Andrew Carnegie donated $71,000 for the construction. Dedication for this structure took place on January 2, 1905. The photo is of the Andrew Carnegie building circa 1910.
Plans for the current home of the Library began in 1981. The groundbreaking for the new building, located at Tennessee and Atlantic Avenues, took place on January 28, 1982. This modern two-story 3.8 million dollar building, dedicated on July 31, 1985, has a capacity of 135,000 volumes, and three times the reading space of its predecessor. Like its predecessor, it will serve the citizens of Atlantic City for decades.
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