Significant dates in Georgia library history
Compiled through Sept. 1, 2002

1733: The colony of Georgia was founded, and soon after, more than 2,000 books were donated for its library.

1736: A three-room school was established in Irene, Ga., including a library stocked with several hundred books printed in England and Germany.

1750: Trustees in London sent to Augusta 166 volumes for a missionary library.

1764: The Georgia Library Association was established. It had no connection to the 1897 association of the same name.

1766: George Whitefield's Bethesda, an orphanage and college established in Savannah in 1740, organizes 30-foot-by-40-foot room as a library, with approximately 1,300 volumes.

1799: The Medway and Newport Library Society of Liberty County was incorporated.

1801: The University of Georgia's board of trustees established a library collection to be purchased with $1,000.

1801: The city of Savannah passed an act to incorporate the Savannah Library Society.

1801: The Union Library Society of Greene County was incorporated.

1825: A bill was sponsored in the Georgia House of Representatives to provide libraries for the Demesthian Society and Phi Kappa Society at the University of Georgia.

1831: State legislation established the Georgia State Library [legislative library].

1831: The University of Georgia's library was founded.

1836: The Emory University Library was established.

1837: The Wesleyan College Library was established.

1838: The Mercer University Library was established.

1839: The Georgia Historical Society Library was established.

1867: The Young Men's Library Association of Atlanta was established.

1876: A U.S. Bureau of Education special report on libraries showed 44 libraries, with 118,00 books, in Georgia.

1891: The Agnes Scott College Library was established.

1894: The Georgia Teachers Association organized "reading circles," many of which led to the establishment of school libraries in the state. Later in this decade, philanthropist George F. Peabody donated $500 for support of these libraries.

1895: The Cotton States Exhibition (Atlanta) featured a model library, a conference on "library and plans to form a state library association. Anne Wallace, librarian of the Young Men's Library Association of Atlanta, was principal organizer.

1897: The Georgia Library Club, forerunner of the Georgia Library Association, was established, headed by the Young Men's Library of Atlanta and the Georgia Federation of Women's Clubs.

1897: The state Legislature established the five-member Georgia Library Commission "to give advice and counsel to all libraries in the state and to all communities which may propose to establish them." The Georgia Federation of Women's Clubs played an important role in advocating the establishment of the Commission.

1898: Andrew Carnegie Library grants of $202,000 were awarded to Atlanta for four libraries.

1899: The Georgia School of Technology Library was established.

1899: Seaboard Airline Railway begins traveling library program, organized by Mrs. Eugene Heard.

1899: The ALA holds it annual conference in Atlanta.

1900: The Georgia Federation of Women's Clubs began active statewide promotion of libraries, including providing traveling libraries.

1901: The state Legislature passed legislation to allow cities to appropriate funds "for the purpose of establishing, or erecting, or maintaining, a public library, or assisting in maintaining a public library."

1902: The Atlanta Carnegie Library was established.

1903: George Foster Peabody donated funds for a new library building at the University of Georgia.

1904: The state legislation was amended to create city council-appointed library boards to handle administration of the funds. Counties were still not allowed to appropriate funds for libraries.

1904: A Carnegie Library building was erected at Atlanta University.

1905: The state's first library school, the Southern Library School, was established in Atlanta. Its name changed to the Carnegie Library Training School of Atlanta two years later, and after becoming affiliated with Emory University in 1925, it moved to the Emory campus in 1930 and became the Emory Division of Librarianship.

1906: The Georgia Library Commission appointed Mrs. Percival Sneed as the first statewide library organizer.

1907: The Georgia School of Technology's new library opened. It was funded by a $20,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie.

1907: George Wymberley Jones DeRenne built a library building at Wormsloe, his estate in Savannah, to house his private collection.

1914: To date, Andrew Carnegie had given more than $500,000 to establish free public libraries in Georgia.

1915: Crisp County's Cordele Carnegie Library became the first in Georgia to offer countywide library service.

1918: Legislation created the state Department of Archives and History.

1920: The state Legislature began funding the Georgia Library Commission, with a $6,000 annual appropriation. Charlotte Templeton was hired as first executive secretary.

1920: Georgia Library Commission was established with quarters in state Capitol, with a trained librarian-executive secretary and an assistant.

1925: Brooks County became the state's first county to pass a local bill authorizing the use of general county funds to support libraries.

1926: The state Legislature increased funding for the Georgia Library Commission to $10,000 a year.

1928: The (Julius) Rosenwald Fund was established nationally to provide library books for black schools; significant grants were made to schools in Georgia.

1935: The state Legislature, after repeatedly defeating bills for 14 years, passed legislation allowing counties to establish public library service or to support existing municipal libraries, which would extend services countywide.

1935: The Georgia Library Commission (in cooperation with the American Library Association's national planning efforts) published its first major statewide plan for public libraries.

1935: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the Works Progress Administration to pay for personnel and fund library services such as technical assistance throughout Georgia (and the rest of the nation). It ran from 1936 to 1943, at which time more than 100 libraries in Georgia were receiving WPA assistance and approximately $1.4 million was being expended.

1936: The Georgia Department of Education established a School Library Division within its Division of Textbook Services and appointed Sarah Jones as the state's first School Library Supervisor.

1937: State funds were first allocated for school library service through the Free Textbook Bill.

1937: State Legislature enacted a law for the certification of public librarians.

1938: The state Attorney General ruled that any surplus from funds used to provide free textbooks could be used to provide library materials to schools.

1939: The first commercially built bookmobile in Georgia went into service in Bibb County.

1940: The state's first regional library system was formed, as a WPA demonstration. Based in Athens, it served Clark, Oconee, and Oglethorpe counties.

1941: The Atlanta University School of Library Service opened with Eliza Atkins Gleason as dean. The Carnegie Corporation and the General Education Board financed a library conference at Atlanta University, heralding the opening of the School of Library Science.

1943: State legislation passed to provide state support for public libraries. The state Library Commission was dissolved and its duties transferred to the state Department of Education through its Textbook and Library Division. The Library Commission's appropriation remained the only funding.

1944: A $100,000 state appropriation was made for public libraries, with specific incentives to promote the creation of regional (multi county) libraries. By 1951, the annual appropriation was $261,000. These
appropriations stimulated growth of local support of public libraries to grow from $1.1 million in 1944 to $1.7 million by 1951.

1944: The Georgia Library Commission was dissolved.

1944: The State Catalog Service was founded for use by school and public libraries.

1945: All public and school library services were consolidated under the state Department of Education.

1945: Georgia’s revised state Constitution made a provision for the taxation by counties for public libraries.

1949: The Atlanta University School of Library Service initiated a graduate program leading to a master’s degree.

1949: The Minimum Foundation Program for Education passed, providing state funds for school and public libraries and encouraging the creation of regional systems.

1951: The amount of the state's population served by public libraries was estimated to be 93 percent.

1956: Congress passed the federal Library Services Act to provide an annual appropriation of $7.5 million for the extension and improvement of rural public library service. Matching funds were to be provided by state and local funds.

1958: The National Defense Education Act (NDEA), Title III, provided support to school libraries in the state.

1964: Congress passed the federal Library Services and Construction Act authorizing $20 million for the construction of new buildings, expansion or remodeling of existing facilities, land acquisition and, initial equipment purchases. Matching funds were required from state and local governments.

1965: The Atlanta University School of Library Service held a conference on “Materials by and about American Negroes.” The school also sponsored a conference on “The Role of the Library in Improving Education in the South.”

1965: E. J. Josey became the first black librarian given membership in the Georgia Library Association.

1965: The Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), Title II, provided support for school libraries in the state.

1974: The Adequate Program for Education in Georgia Act (APEG) provided support for school libraries in the state.

1984: Georgia voters passed a state constitutional amendment allowing the sale of bonds to fund public library buildings.

1992: Georgia voters approved a state lottery, with proceeds to benefit education, including technology and library services.

1996: The Office of Public Library Services and the state's county and regional public library systems was transferred from the state Department of Education to the Department of Technical and Adult Education.

1996: The University Systems Board of Regents established the virtual library GALILEO
(Georgia Library Learning On-Line).

2000: The Board of Regents for the University System of Georgia assumed administrative responsibilities for the state's public libraries.

2002: The ALA holds its annual conference in Atlanta.