History

A Brief History of Library Services in Glynn County

The Marshes of Glynn Libraries, a single-county library system operating in Glynn County, was launched as Georgia’s 64th library system on July 1, 2013. Its system branches include the Brunswick-Glynn County Library and the St. Simons Island Public Library. Although the Marshes of Glynn Libraries are new as a system, the history of public library services in Glynn County can be traced back to 1883 in Brunswick and to 1934 on St. Simons Island. Over these many years, residents of both the mainland and the islands have demonstrated a collaborative spirit, a shared resolve, and an on-going commitment of time, talent and funding support to provide quality library services in Glynn County. These histories are further detailed in A Short History of the Brunswick-Glynn County Regional Library by Hildreth Taylor and A Library to Treasure by Ed Ginn. The significant events in the development of the public library system of Glynn County are outlined in the timelines below.

Brunswick-Glynn County Library

Year
Library Milestones
1883
The Brunswick Library Association is organized with nine members and 150 books. A small library is established in a downtown store on Newcastle Street.
1894
Library is moved to a small building on Richmond Street.
1904
Library is relocated to City Hall where it would remain until 1950.
1927
Increased recognition and support of the Library prompts the City of Brunswick to start an annual funding appropriation.
1928
Glynn County follows with an annual appropriation to the Library.
1929
The Children’s Library is established.
1933
The Library continues to grow with the addition of an historical collection by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
1934
The Library launches first direct services to schools.
1936
The City passes an ordinance that elevates the Library to an official City entity and creates the Brunswick Library Board.
1939
The Brunswick Library Board becomes the first to reach 100% membership in the Georgia Library Association.
1945
The Brunswick Library collection has grown to 8,000 books. That same year, the Georgia Library Commission sends state funds to support the Brunswick Library.
1946
The cataloguing of the Brunswick Library’s collection is completed.
1947
The first full-time professional Librarian is hired and the Glynn County Library Council is formed. The Council contracts with the Brunswick Library Board to expand library services countywide, with the exception of St. Simons Island.
1948
The Library purchases its first bookmobile.
1949
Camden requests library services from the Brunswick Library Board.
1950
The first Regional Board meeting is held in Woodbine. The Library provides bookmobile services to Glynn and surrounding communities with more than 118 stops.
1950
The Brunswick Library’s second floor location in City Hall deteriorates to an unsafe condition due to the weight of the growing book collection. Following the collapse of several walls, the Library is relocated to a former hot dog stand building on Reynolds Street where it remains for eight years.
1952
Charlton County signs an agreement with the Library, enlarging the region to three counties.
1954
Brantley County signs an agreement with the Library, enlarging the region to four counties.
1955
Wayne County signs an agreement with the Library, enlarging the region to five counties.
1958
Amid growing pressure from the public, the City offers to move the Brunswick Library to a former grocery store on Gloucester Street. The building serves as the Library home for almost two decades until 1975.
1961
The region grows with the addition of McIntosh and Long Counties.
1974
A bond issue is passed by Glynn County voters to construct a dedicated library building on Gloucester Street.
1975
The building is completed with funding and donations from the City of Brunswick, Glynn County, and the State Board of Education.
2000
The regional system is renamed the Three Rivers Regional Library System, with the Brunswick-Glynn County Library serving as regional headquarters.
2012
Members of the Glynn County Library Board vote to form a single-county library system. The plan receives approval from State Librarian Dr. Lamar Veatch and the Georgia Public Library System.

St. Simons Island Public Library

Year
Library Milestones
1937
St. Simons Library is founded by Mrs. Abbie Fuller Graham with 50 books housed temporarily in the home of Captain and Mrs. J. C. Clark on Arnold Road.
1937
County Commissioners agree to house the library in the Casino under the sponsorship of the Cassina Garden Club. Additional materials for the move to the Casino were furnished by the National Youth Administration, the Works Project Administration, and local residents.
1937
‘Drums Along the Mohawk’ by Walter Edmonds becomes the first book accessioned in the Library. The book still remains in the St. Simons Library.
1937-1941
The Library Commission recognizes the St. Simons Island Library as a Standard library. Many hundreds of books are loaned to the Library, with the local Boy Scouts soliciting donations for the Library.
1941-45
The St. Simons Library was operated by personnel of the Works Project Administration (WPA).
1943
The St. Simons Library reports an inventory of 3,256 books, a yearly circulation of 9,062 and 695 registered members.
1946
Mrs. Fraser L. Ledbetter appointed as Head Librarian of the St. Simons Library, a position she held for more than four decades until 1989.
1949
The St. Simons Library Board votes to remain independent and received no further assistance from the State.
1950
The St. Simons Library is moved to the vacated bowling alley in the Casino following the alley relocation to the “New Casino.” Kitchen shelves from the closed Air Base housing were donated for use in the new Library.
1953-1965
Improvements are made to the library facility to include new shelving and lighting, air conditioning and central heat.
1957
A full-time library assistant position is added.
1964
The St. Simons Library had been funded by benefit card parties, teas and book sales. In 1964, Library Directors voted to make a direct annual appeal to library members, part-time residents and friends for contributions. Glynn County continued to provide housing and a small stipend to the Library.
1971
The St. Simons Library’s collection grows from 50 books to 24,000, with an excellent genealogy collection that would later be relocated to the Heritage Room of the Brunswick Library.
1987
The St. Simons Library celebrates 50 years with an open house. Present at the celebration were authors Eugenia Price and Joyce Blackburn.
1989
The St. Simons summer reading program for boys and girls, called the Smokey Bear Reading Club, is one of the oldest programs in the state of Georgia. The genealogy collection grows to more than 1,000 books.
2002
Recognizing Eugenia Price for her historical novels about coastal Georgia, the St. Simons Library is designated a Literary Landmark by Friends of Libraries USA. Research by Price at the Library contributed to her first book in the popular St. Simons Trilogy, ‘The Beloved Invader.’
2005
The St. Simons Library is relocated to a double-wide trailer in front of the Casino during building renovations. More than 25,000 people visit the library that year.
2006
The St. Simons Library returns to its home in the Casino building.
2007
The St. Simons Library Board completes negotiations with the Three Rivers Regional Library System and becomes a PINES member.

Calendar of Events

VIEW

HOURS

BRUNSWICK
MON & WED
9:30 am - 5:00 pm
TUE & THU
9:30 am - 8:00 pm
FRI & SAT
9:30 am - 5:00 pm
SUN CLOSED

ST. SIMONS
MON, TUE, THU & FRI
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
WED
12:00 pm - 7:00 pm
SAT
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
SUN CLOSED

LOCATIONS

BRUNSWICK-GLYNN COUNTY LIBRARY
208 GLOUCESTER ST.
BRUNSWICK, GEORGIA 31520

ST. SIMONS ISLAND PUBLIC LIBRARY
530A BEACHVIEW DR.
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GA 31522

CONTACTS

BRUNSWICK
912-279-3740
EMAIL

ST. SIMONS
912- 279-3750
EMAIL