Patrick Beaver Memorial Library

375 3rd Street North East
Hickory, NC 28601


Hickory Public Library will serve as a focal point of our community, meeting the lifelong learning needs of all people as well as providing exceptional service, materials, and programs to meet their informational, recreational, cultural and business needs.


Library history in Hickory may be traced back to the year 1893, when the Travellers Club began a subscription library with a rental collection purchased from a local businessman. The Hickory Library Association was incorporated in 1906, for the purpose of governing the affairs of the library. Official recognition from the City of Hickory came in 1915, when the City Council elected two directors to the Association. Also during that year, George Ivey was elected to the board of directors.

About that same time, the Association began planning for a permanent site for the library, which had been housed in a number of sites during the preceding nine years. In 1917, Mr. and Mrs. J. Worth Elliott donated property to be used as the site for the new library. During this same year, Mr. J. L. Cilley and Mr. J. D. Elliott went to New York to solicit grant funds from the Carnegie Foundation. Although there were no remaining foundation funds for library construction, Mr. Cilley and Mr. Elliott did obtain a $14,000 private contribution from Mrs. Carnegie. These funds were supplemented with a $.05 per hundred tax approved by the voters of Hickory. The J. Worth Elliott-Carnegie Library opened for service in 1922.

In 1943, Mr. George F. Ivey offered to the city a donation of $30,000 to be used toward the construction of a new public library. The new library was to be a memorial to his son, Elbert Ivey. The City of Hickory pledged to provide a site for the new library. Mr. Ivey's donation was eventually supplemented with both public and private funds, and in 1950, the City Council approved purchase of the J.A. Martin property on Third Avenue, NW as a site for the library. In 1952, the Elbert Ivey Memorial Library was opened.

In the early 1960's, the dirt basement of the building was finished to provide much-needed space for shelving for the adult non-fiction collection.

Until 1969 children's services were provided on the main floor of the library. In that year, a bequest from Mr. Richard Little, an educator who was a native of Hickory, made possible the addition of a separate children's department on the basement level of the library.

And finally, in 1975, a 3,000 sq. ft. two-story addition was constructed to provide office and work space for the library staff.

The library gained additional space for its growing collection and services with the acquisition of the John Cilley house, which was located adjacent to the library. This house, which served as the Catawba Science Center for a number of years, was turned over to the library in 1987, after the Science Center moved its operations to the new Arts Center of Catawba Valley. In April of 1988, the library moved all audiovisual materials and services to the Cilley House, and began operating audiovisual services as a separate department.
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