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History of the Roswell Library

 Humble Beginnings

The Roswell Library had its beginning in 1946 when a group of dedicated volunteers made weekly trips to the Carnegie Library of Atlanta to pick up books. A room had been set aside for a library in what was then The Roswell Elementary School on Mimosa Boulevard (torn down in 1949). The books were moved to temporary space in City Hall, now the Roswell Visitors Center, until a permanent home for a collection could be found.

In 1955, Arthur W. Smith, grandson of one of the Roswell founders, formed a citizen’s committee that purchased one of the historic “Bricks” apartments on Sloan Street for the library and the collection was moved there. This became known as the Carnegie Library Deposit at Roswell — “deposit” because books were still being borrowed from the main Atlanta Library and transported back and forth by volunteers.

Shortly after her husband’s death in 1960, Mrs. Arthur W. Smith, seeing a need to expand the library, renovated the 100-year-old cotton warehouse from the Smith Plantation (now the “Roswell Historic Cottage, an Events Facility”), and donated it to Fulton County for use as the Arthur William Smith Memorial Library. In 1965, it became a full-fledged library branch with its own budget and its own collection of books.

As the city of Roswell continued to grow and the library building began to deteriorate, a new location was desperately needed. In 1981, The Smith Memorial Library was moved to rented space in the Roswell Mall and was renamed the Roswell Public Library.

In 1983, the State of Georgia transferred the responsibility of the library system from the City of Atlanta to Fulton County forming the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System (AFPLS) of which Roswell was a branch. Fulton County held a successful bond referendum in 1985 for building new libraries and, in April, 1988, on City Complex land that had been Smith property, construction for the new library began. On July 17th, 1989, the present library began circulating books and materials.

Now, after 28 years of service to the community, with a collection of 109,792 items and 21 computers for public use, the library is scheduled for a major renovation soon. 

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