Selma, Fresno County
San Joaquin Valley/South area, Central Valley region
Early reading rooms and libraries in Selma date from the Selma Reading Room Association of 1888, followed by the WCTU libraries of 1889 and 1898, the Selma Ministerial Union Library of 1902, and the lasting effort of the Wednesday Literary Club in 1903. Selma had incorporated in 1893 and the Wednesday Club sought city trusteeship for the library in 1898 and proposed Carnegie funding in 1900. In 1904, with Prohibitionists in control of local government, a Public Library was finally established. Carnegie funding of $6,000 was granted March 14, 1905. The building, designed by C. K. Kirby, Jr. of Fresno, in the Mission/Spanish Colonial Revival style, had to be scaled down to comply with the size of the grant. The builder was George H. Millward. It was completed in just four months, opening January 12, 1906 with a festive civic ceremony. Selma merged with the Fresno County Library in 1913. The building was outgrown within a few years and the situation became serious by 1926 when structural problems were identified. However, patchwork repairs and a 1939 remodeling had to suffice until 1952 when the city provided library space in another city building. The Carnegie site was then sold, the building demolished, and a bank erected in its place.