Skip to Main Content

Alachua County Library History: Home

This guide is home for my library history project that includes documents, images, web resources, and other information gathered from research.

Project Outline

A History of Libraries in Alachua County

   - project begun 5/12/08

  - last updated 8/23/10


1. Web page includes:

            - bibliography

            - photo album

            - delicious tags

            - notes

            - article summaries

            - timeline

            - interviews

            - web info

            - table of contents    


2. Research sites:

             - UF Special


            - Matheson Historical

              Museum & archives

            - Alachua County Public

              Library archives

            - State Library archives


3. Types of research:

             - oral histories

              (Samuel Proctor -

                 Oral History

               Program at UF)

             - books & articles

             - archives

             - newspapers:

                  -- Gainesville Sun

                  -- UF Alligator

              - interviews:

                   - Joel Buchanan

                    - Ray Jones

                     - Iona Malanchuk

                    - Bobby Powell 


Library History Documents & Resources

Alachua County (FL) Libraries:Institutional and Cultural History


Table of Contents

 o   Chronological History

o  Introduction: Frontier Life through the Gilded Age (1824 – 1899) 

o  The First Libraries in Alachua County (1900 - 1925) 

o  Growth & Cultural Changes (1926 - 1949) 

o  Expansion & Integration (1950 - 1970) 

o  Innovations in Technology (1971 - 1993) 

o  Libraries in the Electronic Age (1994 - 2008) 

o   Appendices (topics examined in depth):


Race Relations

Gifts & Donors

o   Sidebars --- anecdotes and people of the past

o   Index & Notes


Summary of Sections:

* Introduction - an opening that includes the background to the entire history of Alachua County and region.

* First Libraries - for the university library section, this will encompass the Beckman Act, the move of the libraries from the various colleges and seminaries, etc. up to the first Main Library bldg.; for the public library section, it would include the earliest public libraries (moved around downtown) and the Carnegie Library bldg., and both sections would go into how collections grew and the hiring of the first librarians.

* Growth & Cultural Change - The population mushroomed after 1945 and it's clear that culturally the town and university changed a great deal from the mid-20s to the years after WWII. Newcomers from everywhere changed the town & university dramatically. The place 'grew up' as did the libraries.

* Expansion & Integration - Starts with the 1950 building addition to the Main Library - as it was a seminal point in the university libraries' history - and go through the construction of LibWest; for the public library, this twenty year period was incredibly important - three libraries were built (one for blacks), and then integration came and it all changed quickly.

* Innovations in Tech - The 70s & 80s for the university library was all about getting automated and the overriding factor in library history in the two decades; automation then allowed collaborations/consortia with other libraries, FCLA, etc.; for the public, much of this can be said to be true, as their online catalog started in this time and automation improved county outreach.

* Libraries in the Electronic Age – Introduction of the PC, email, & the emergence of the Internet changed everything for libraries forever.

Research and Links

Samuel Proctor Oral Histories used in the project:

University of Florida Campus (General) Oral History Collection :

Interviews that mention the UF Library include: Albert Murphree, Jr.; Sue Walker; Frances Apperson; Ila Pridgen; Madge Tams; Vivian Prince; George T. Harrell; Lois Knowles; James Wattenbarger; George Allen; Janice Hester; Grace Ensign; Marian Yongs; Alice Elizabeth Alexander ("Lib"); Sam Gowan; Robert Mautz; Hazen Nutter; Michael Gannon; Betty Taylor; Jane Tyson.

Extensive interviews include :

Interview with Stanley West (Director of UF Libraries, 1946-1967) :

Interview with Gustave Harrer (Director of UF Libraries, 1968-84) :

Interview with Jesse Ray Jones -- "Ray" (UF Social Sciences Bibliographer, Reference Librarian) :


Fifth Avenue African American  (Alachua County) Oral History Collection --- interviews by Joel Buchanan with African American librarians Cornelia Smith and Carrie B. Lovette :

FL Library History Resources

University of Florida Home Page

This page uses Google Analytics - (Google Privacy Policy)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.