History

1885

Subscription-based library established by the Pensacola Library Association. The 184 members paid 25 cents per month to use the library.

1885

1904-1910

Attempts are made to secure Carnegie funds for a public library.

1904-1910

1911-1919

The city of Pensacola fails to provide a site for a public library and denies future support. Funds are not obtained. The city later allots $25 per month and then $50 per month toward the library.

1911-1919

1933

Subscription library closes and its books are stored in the San Carlos Hotel.

1933

Feb. 1937

Pensacola City Council passes an ordinance to establish a free public library and creates a five-member board.

Feb. 1937

Jan. 1938

Lucia Tryon is hired by the city of Pensacola as head librarian and tasked with organizing and opening a public library.

Jan. 1938

Feb. 15, 1938

Pensacola Free Public Library opens in Old Christ Church with 3,352 books, including those from the old subscription library and $100 worth of new books.

Feb. 15, 1938

March 1, 1938

Pensacola Free Public Library has 2,375 cardholders.

March 1, 1938

1938

The Shakespeare Club opens a library on Oak Street in Milton.

1938

Aug. 17, 1952

Alice S. Williams Branch Library opens to serve the black community.

Aug. 17, 1952

1957

Pensacola Public Library is opened at Spring and Gregory streets.

1957

1963

Santa Rosa County enters into an inter-local agreement with the city of Pensacola, starting the West Florida Regional Library System. Milton Branch Library is acquired and bookmobile service in Pensacola and Santa Rosa begins.

1963

December 1964

Pensacola City Council votes to extend library service to the rest of Escambia County through an inter-local agreement with Escambia County. The city of Pensacola approves an addition to Pensacola Public Library.

December 1964

April 1966

Bookmobile service extends to Escambia County.

April 1966

April 1967

Pensacola Public Library addition is completed.

April 1967

1971

Santa Rosa County opens a branch in Gulf Breeze.

1971

1972

An outreach van begins serving low-income areas.

1972

1973

Friends of the Pensacola Public Library is established.

1973

1974

The Summers Report presents a study of the West Florida Regional System recommending the immediate establishment of a branch in northeast Pensacola. The report also recommends an expansion or replacement of the Pensacola Public Library by 1985.

1974

1975

Jay Branch Library opens in rented quarters. Milton Branch Library moves to a new building on Alabama Street, serving 12,164 cardholders.
Belvedere Branch Library opens at North Ninth Avenue at Creighton Road. A new building for Gulf Breeze Branch Library is completed.

1975

1976

Alice S. Williams Branch Library closes and merges with Pensacola Public Library. Jay Branch Library moves into the new Jay Civic Center building.

1976

1979

A new bookmobile for Santa Rosa County is housed in Milton.

1979

1981

Bookmobile service is discontinued in Santa Rosa County.

1981

1983

Belvedere Branch Library moves to Bayou Boulevard and is renamed Northeast Branch Library.

1983

1989-1990

A study by HBW Associates Inc., library planners and consultants, finds the West Florida Regional Library System to be well behind libraries in comparable communities in terms of facilities, collections, staffing and funding. HBW concludes the library system is only able to provide “the extreme basics” of library service. The study recommends immediate automation, building a new main library by 1995, adding branches and increasing library funding from $5 to $20 per capita by 2000.

1989-1990

1990

Northeast Branch Library is renamed Lucia M. Tryon Branch Library and moves to North Ninth Avenue and College Boulevard.

1990

1990-1991

Escambia County budget cuts force the Pensacola Public Library and Tryon Branch Library to close on Sundays and Mondays and drastically reduce book purchases.

1990-1991

1993

Automated circulation and a computerized catalog system are inaugurated. Navarre Branch Library, begun as an all-volunteer operation by the Friends of the Navarre Library, joins the West Florida Regional Library System.

1993

1994

Funds are secured to build an addition to Gulf Breeze Branch Library. Funding includes a state grant, a one-time municipal service taxing unit, or MSTU, and private contributions gathered by the Friends of the Gulf Breeze Library.

1994

1997

Public internet access is provided at all locations through a state library grant.

1997

1999

West Florida Regional Library becomes a department of the city of Pensacola.

1999

2003

The West Florida Regional Library System implements iBistro, an online catalog system.

2003

2004

Southwest Branch Library opens at 12248 Gulf Beach Highway.

2004

2006

Milton, Jay, Gulf Breeze and Navarre Branch Libraries break off from the West Florida Regional Library System to form the Santa Rosa County Library System. Pensacola Public Library, Tryon Branch Library and Southwest Branch Library now make up what is renamed the West Florida Public Library System.

2006

2007

Westside Branch Library and Century Branch Library open.

2007

2009

Lucia M. Tryon Branch Library moves to a new building on Langley Avenue.

2009

2010

Genealogy Branch Library opens in the former Tryon Branch Library location at North Ninth Avenue and College Boulevard. The library houses a collection of West Florida and Escambia County history, also serving as the Pensacola Historical Society headquarters.

2010

2011

Groundbreaking for the construction and renovation of Pensacola Public Library begins. The current 27,500 square foot library will stay open while the old city fire station next to the library is demolished and a 16,000 square foot addition is constructed. Once the addition is completed, library materials will be moved to the new building, where operations will continue and the older building will be renovated. The two buildings will be connected by a mostly glass, two-story lobby area. The project is scheduled to be completed in late 2012.

2011

January 2013

More than 200 people gather to celebrate the ribbon cutting and grand opening of Pensacola’s new main library. The renovation and expansion doubled the library’s size to 51,000 square feet and resulted in a physical address change to 239 N. Spring St. after two years of renovations. The new library includes an expanded children’s area, meeting rooms, a café, bookstore and a computer training lab.

January 2013

April 1, 2013

Molino Branch Library opens at 6450 Highway 95A after old Molino Elementary School, which was built in 1939 is converted into the Molino Community Complex in October 2012. The Molino Mid-County Historical Society and the Lillian F. King Museum are housed in the complex as well.

April 1, 2013

Jan. 22, 2013

The West Florida Public Library Board of Governance is established under the Escambia County 2013-2017 Resolution, replacing the Library Advisory Board as the policy-making body for the library system.

Jan. 22, 2013

April 10, 2013

The newly-appointed Library Board of Governance meets for the first time.

April 10, 2013

Oct. 1, 2013

Management of the West Florida Public Library System is transferred from the city of Pensacola to Escambia County.

Oct. 1, 2013

2014

A ribbon cutting ceremony is held for Westside Branch Library, located at 1301 W. Gregory St. inside of the Theophalis May Neighborhood Resource Center.

2014
1885 Subscription-based library established by the Pensacola Library Association. The 184 members paid 25 cents per month to use the library.
1904-1910 Attempts are made to secure Carnegie funds for a public library.
1911-1919 The city of Pensacola fails to provide a site for a public library and denies future support. Funds are not obtained. The city later allots $25 per month and then $50 per month toward the library.
1933 Subscription library closes and its books are stored in the San Carlos Hotel.
Feb. 1937 Pensacola City Council passes an ordinance to establish a free public library and creates a five-member board.
Jan. 1938 Lucia Tryon is hired by the city of Pensacola as head librarian and tasked with organizing and opening a public library.
Feb. 15, 1938 Pensacola Free Public Library opens in Old Christ Church with 3,352 books, including those from the old subscription library and $100 worth of new books.
March 1, 1938 Pensacola Free Public Library has 2,375 cardholders.
1938 The Shakespeare Club opens a library on Oak Street in Milton.
Aug. 17, 1952 Alice S. Williams Branch Library opens to serve the black community.
1957 Pensacola Public Library is opened at Spring and Gregory streets.
1963 Santa Rosa County enters into an inter-local agreement with the city of Pensacola, starting the West Florida Regional Library System. Milton Branch Library is acquired and bookmobile service in Pensacola and Santa Rosa begins.
December 1964 Pensacola City Council votes to extend library service to the rest of Escambia County through an inter-local agreement with Escambia County. The city of Pensacola approves an addition to Pensacola Public Library.
April 1966 Bookmobile service extends to Escambia County.
April 1967 Pensacola Public Library addition is completed.
1971 Santa Rosa County opens a branch in Gulf Breeze.
1972 An outreach van begins serving low-income areas.
1973 Friends of the Pensacola Public Library is established.
1974 The Summers Report presents a study of the West Florida Regional System recommending the immediate establishment of a branch in northeast Pensacola. The report also recommends an expansion or replacement of the Pensacola Public Library by 1985.
1975 Jay Branch Library opens in rented quarters. Milton Branch Library moves to a new building on Alabama Street, serving 12,164 cardholders.

Belvedere Branch Library opens at North Ninth Avenue at Creighton Road. A new building for Gulf Breeze Branch Library is completed.
1976 Alice S. Williams Branch Library closes and merges with Pensacola Public Library. Jay Branch Library moves into the new Jay Civic Center building.
1979 A new bookmobile for Santa Rosa County is housed in Milton.
1981 Bookmobile service is discontinued in Santa Rosa County.
1983 Belvedere Branch Library moves to Bayou Boulevard and is renamed Northeast Branch Library.
1989-1990 A study by HBW Associates Inc., library planners and consultants, finds the West Florida Regional Library System to be well behind libraries in comparable communities in terms of facilities, collections, staffing and funding. HBW concludes the library system is only able to provide “the extreme basics” of library service. The study recommends immediate automation, building a new main library by 1995, adding branches and increasing library funding from $5 to $20 per capita by 2000.
1990 Northeast Branch Library is renamed Lucia M. Tryon Branch Library and moves to North Ninth Avenue and College Boulevard.
1990-1991 Escambia County budget cuts force the Pensacola Public Library and Tryon Branch Library to close on Sundays and Mondays and drastically reduce book purchases.
1993 Automated circulation and a computerized catalog system are inaugurated.

Navarre Branch Library, begun as an all-volunteer operation by the Friends of the Navarre Library, joins the West Florida Regional Library System.
1994 Funds are secured to build an addition to Gulf Breeze Branch Library. Funding includes a state grant, a one-time municipal service taxing unit, or MSTU, and private contributions gathered by the Friends of the Gulf Breeze Library.
1997 Public internet access is provided at all locations through a state library grant.
1999 West Florida Regional Library becomes a department of the city of Pensacola.
2003 The West Florida Regional Library System implements iBistro, an online catalog system.
2004 Southwest Branch Library opens at 12248 Gulf Beach Highway.
2006 Milton, Jay, Gulf Breeze and Navarre Branch Libraries break off from the West Florida Regional Library System to form the Santa Rosa County Library System. Pensacola Public Library, Tryon Branch Library and Southwest Branch Library now make up what is renamed the West Florida Public Library System.
2007 Westside Branch Library and Century Branch Library open.
2009 Lucia M. Tryon Branch Library moves to a new building on Langley Avenue.
2010 Genealogy Branch Library opens in the former Tryon Branch Library location at North Ninth Avenue and College Boulevard. The library houses a collection of West Florida and Escambia County history, also serving as the Pensacola Historical Society headquarters.
2011 Groundbreaking for the construction and renovation of Pensacola Public Library begins. The current 27,500 square foot library will stay open while the old city fire station next to the library is demolished and a 16,000 square foot addition is constructed. Once the addition is completed, library materials will be moved to the new building, where operations will continue and the older building will be renovated. The two buildings will be connected by a mostly glass, two-story lobby area. The project is scheduled to be completed in late 2012.
January 2013 More than 200 people gather to celebrate the ribbon cutting and grand opening of Pensacola’s new main library. The renovation and expansion doubled the library’s size to 51,000 square feet and resulted in a physical address change to 239 N. Spring St. after two years of renovations. The new library includes an expanded children’s area, meeting rooms, a café, bookstore and a computer training lab.
April 1, 2013 Molino Branch Library opens at 6450 Highway 95A after old Molino Elementary School, which was built in 1939 is converted into the Molino Community Complex in October 2012. The Molino Mid-County Historical Society and the Lillian F. King Museum are housed in the complex as well.
Jan. 22, 2013 The West Florida Public Library Board of Governance is established under the Escambia County 2013-2017 Resolution, replacing the Library Advisory Board as the policy-making body for the library system.
April 10, 2013 The newly-appointed Library Board of Governance meets for the first time.
Oct. 1, 2013 Management of the West Florida Public Library System is transferred from the city of Pensacola to Escambia County.
2014 A ribbon cutting ceremony is held for Westside Branch Library, located at 1301 W. Gregory St. inside of the Theophalis May Neighborhood Resource Center.