Jacksonville Public Library
Subscription libraries and reading rooms were maintained by various private Jacksonville organizations in the mid 1800's. Of these, it was the Jacksonville Library Association, incorporated in 1871, that was the predecessor to the public library which serves Jacksonville today. In 1874 the Association raised enough funds to open a free reading room in donated quarters in the Chambers Block on West State Street. The free reading room had subsequent homes in the Ayers block (1875), the Y.M.C.A. Building (1881), and the Degan Building (1897).
In 1889 the Jacksonville City Council amended the city tax levy to include support of the free library and reading room. Charles W. Alexander served as the first librarian of the city-supported Jacksonville Public Library.
After being contacted in 1901 by Jacksonville lawyer Lawrence O. Vaught, Andrew Carnegie pledged $40,000 for the erection of a public library building in Jacksonville. The Jacksonville Public Library officially opened in its permanent home, the Carnegie building at 201 W. College Avenue, on February 23, 1903.