In 1890, the Auburn Board of Trade charged a committee to plan a library for the city of Auburn. The trustees rented two rooms in the Elm Block, above the Auburn Trust Company, and Miss Annie Prescott was appointed librarian. The library opened for business on August 21, 1891.
In 1902, library trustees received notice that philanthropist Andrew Carnegie would give Auburn $25,000 to construct a building to house its library. Ground was broken on July 22, 1903, and the library building opened on August 1, 1904.
Because of the new building’s popularity, the library eventually had to find more room. The children’s room was moved to the top floor lecture hall in 1920. Electric lights replaced gas fixtures in 1915. The third level of book shelving was installed in 1929.
By the late 1940s, all space in the original building was being used to capacity. A long-awaited building expansion came in 1956. The 4,156 square-foot addition provided a new children’s room, three stack floors, and work space for the staff.
With additional renovations in 1978, the ground floor became the main entry, the reference room was redesigned, and the children’s room was relocated to the first floor. All of the library’s space, now 13,146 square feet, was now being fully utilized.
With a renewed emphasis on materials that were practical, interesting, and entertaining, library use increased dramatically through the 1980s. Once again, library services and collections outgrew available space. In the fall of 2000, the Auburn Public Library’s Board of Trustees launched a major capital campaign to raise funds to expand the library in a way that would preserve the look of the original building and last another 100 years. In 2006, the newly renovated library opened, with double the size of the original 1904 building. The library now has room to offer its customers the innovative services that will serve them well in the 21st century.
— Excerpted from the history of the Auburn Public Library featured on its website.