(Public Library: 1904 to 1987)
Andrew Carnegie provided a grant of $10,000, on December 30, 1901, for construction of a Carnegie Library building facing the town square in Newnan, Georgia. A teenager, Charles L. Thompson, from this Georgia town actually sought this library grant directly from Andrew Carnegie! Given early in the Carnegie Library grant program, this was one of the first Carnegie Library grants in the state of Georgia and was provided to a town which had not previously had a public library. It is also, likely, the oldest surviving Carnegie Library building in the state. The cornerstone for the Library was laid on 1903 August 4. The Carnegie Library opened to the public in 1904.
The building served as a library until 1987 when a new facility was constructed on Hospital Road. With its iconic lighted sign that states the ‘City of Homes’ on top of the building, citizens recognize the Carnegie when they drive through historic downtown.
Newly restored by the City of Newnan, the Carnegie has brought back library type services in the downtown area. The bottom floor of the building serves as a reading room and the second floor as a meeting space. Among its many offerings, the Carnegie brings popular magazines and newspapers, computer workstations and Wi-Fi access, a gallery for local exhibits, meeting rooms with warming kitchen and programs for adults and children. The Carnegie will serve the public with a non-circulating reading room, children’s area, and an art gallery. It seeks to be an integral part of the community by offering print and electronic materials.
The Carnegie was funded by the General Fund and partly by 2007 Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST). The Carnegie’s cost to be renovated was over $1.5 million dollars to the city. Headley Construction Corporation served as the general contractor on the project. Architectural services were provided by Carter Watkins Associates who succeeded in creating an interior design that was period correct for the early 1900’s.
The Newnan Carnegie Library Foundation:
When the county erected a new Judicial Center in 2007 and moved out, the Carnegie building became vacant again. Within weeks, a grassroots contingent and hundreds of citizens under the banner, “Friends of the Carnegie” mobilized to bring the Library back. Mentored by Dr. Shirley Spears, Library Director of the BB Comer Library in Sylacauga, Alabama and the First National Library Service Award Winner, “Friend” circulated a Needs Survey to all demographic groups to ascertain what the building should be. The local press jumped on board, the Mayor lent his support and the story was chronicled on Glenn Walsh’s website, firstname.lastname@example.org. Within a year, the city council became as enthused as the citizens themselves … and the library conversion was underway! Today “Friends of the Carnegie” has reorganized as The Newnan Carnegie Library Foundation and was granted status as a 501(c)-3 Charitable Corporation in late 2007. The Mission of the Foundation is to support the Carnegie through outstanding and unique programming and resources designed to enlighten and inform all citizens in its community. To learn more visit newnancarnegielibraryfoundation