Help us celebrate 100 Years of Library Service
Tuesday, December 1, 2015 ~ 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
100th Anniversary of the Grand Opening Dedication of St. Petersburg’s Mirror Lake Community Library
280 Fifth Street North ~ St. Petersburg, Florida
hosted by the St. Petersburg Library System and the City of St. Petersburg
Interest in providing reading material for the citizens of St. Petersburg began in 1899, when a group of volunteers opened a reading room on Central Avenue. A campaign to secure a Carnegie library grant began in 1908, but those leading the effort were unable to secure a sufficient donation until St. Petersburg Times owner W. L. Straub met personally with Carnegie officers late in 1913 and convinced them to offer a grant of $17,500.
The construction tract was awarded to W. C. Henry, and the cornerstone was laid on Dec. 19, 1914. The library opened on December 1, 1915 with 2,600 volumes. By 1947 the library’s collection had grown to 45,000 volumes, and the library was expanded with a new wing in 1951.
New libraries were added around the city in the years that followed, and the library at Mirror Lake was added to the National Registry of Historic Places on June 13, 1986. It had fallen into disrepair by this time, and the city began work to restore and expand the library. The restored library opened in May of 1997.
The Mirror Lake Community Library’s original building was designed by Henry Whitfield in the Beaux Arts architectural style, and the additions in 1951 and 1997 were designed in the same style. Of 14 total Carnegie libraries built in Florida from 1901 to 1917, Mirror Lake is one of only two still operating as a library.
Information provided by Linda C. Kinsey, APR, Information Specialist, Marketing, City of St. Petersburg