Fresno, Fresno County
San Joaquin Valley/South area, Central Valley region
Funded by a 1901 Carnegie grant of $30,000, and completed in 1904, the Fresno Carnegie Library was one of the earliest and costliest of the Carnegies. Architects Copeland and Dole of New York designed the building in the Classical Revival style. The builder was A.M. Jones. Fresno's early library history is extensive. There were 1875 and 1876 Social and Literary Clubs, followed by public but not tax supported libraries in 1882 and 1884. The Fresno Public Library with a Board of Trustees dates from 1891. However, the Carnegie grant provided the first permanent library building. The Fresno Public Library, through the State Library, pioneered rural library service. In 1910 it was among the first to form a county library system providing branches and traveling libraries to mountain and valley towns. A 1912 request to Carnegie for additional library funds was rejected after much correspondence. Librarian Sarah McCardle was noted throughout the state for her leadership; having first served the Fresno Public Library, she then led the Fresno County Library from its inception until 1945. The building was demolished in 1959.