Richmond Public Library was founded by civic-minded leaders in the early 1900s. The establishment of a public library for Richmond residents took several tries. Originally approached by Mr. Andrew Carnegie in 1901, community leaders and advocates founded the Richmond Public Library Association in 1905 and built support for a locally-funded library.
City Council formed a library board in 1923 and secured the former home of Major Lewis Ginter for the first public library building. The library opened at 901 W. Franklin Street in 1924. In 1925, details of the will of Mrs. Sallie May Dooley became public. Among her charitable gifts, she left $500,000 to the City to purchase a site and to build and equip a public library in memory of her husband, Major James H. Dooley. The site of the current Main Library was chosen in 1927 and the building was completed and dedicated in 1930.
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