Place Details

Selby Public Library

1331 1st St
Sarasota,  FL 34236-5702

Phone: (941) 365-5228



The Selby Public Library was the first library in Sarasota County, Florida and was established in 1907. The current building is the largest public library in Sarasota County and serves the downtown district of Sarasota, Florida.HistoryThe Selby Public Library originated when the Town Improvement Society established a library room at Five Points with a fund of $65. It first began with a contribution of books and 51 subscribers. In 1913, the Woman's Club took over the library then eventually in 1915 it was relocated to the east wing of the Women's Club. The Sarasota City Council soon appropriated $150 a year to locate the library in the old schoolhouse on Main Street rent free for five years. In 1940 the Women's Club requested that the city take absolute control of the library so the city moved it to 701 N. Tamiami Trail. As more individuals relocated into the county by the mid 1970s, the increasing need for additional books and materials was evident. The library soon progressed to the current Boulevard of the Arts site on June 24, 1976, and Sarasota County government took over its operation. After a large contribution of $500,000 from the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation it was named Selby Library.Architects and ConstructionThe current Selby Library building was designed by architect Eugene Aubry who also designed the Wortham Theater Center. Constructed in 1998 and at 73,000 square feet, Selby Library is the largest library facility in the County library system. Selby Library is a two story building with a large central foyer enhanced by a mobile underwritten by the Art in Public Places program. Meeting space, including a 200 seat auditorium, is an important feature of the library. The Friends of the Library group operates a bookstore, the proceeds from which contribute to library enhancements. Parking has been at a premium since the building opened and various approaches have been tried to address this issue. By 2005, two-hour parking was the rule with library-use-only enforced during the busiest season.

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