On November 5, 2003, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners voted to rename the Ybor City Library as the Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library to honor Robert W. Saunders, Sr.
The Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library opened in 1933. Its home was a storefront facility donated by the local Italian American Club. The collection was aimed primarily at the Spanish-speaking community and the library was open on a part time basis.
Construction of a new building at 1505 North Nebraska Avenue was planned as part of the 1968 Model Cities Maryland Avenue Urban Renewal project. The "Maryland Avenue" branch, as it was originally known, is located near downtown Tampa, directly between the Tampa Park and Central Park Housing projects. It sits on the west side of Booker T. Washington School. Although it was renamed the Ybor City Branch in 1969, the building is technically one block outside of the Ybor City boundaries.
Since its opening in 1968, the branch has developed a neighborhood clientele. Services focus on the needs of area Head Start programs, day care providers, children and adults.
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