SJCPLS Celebrates 40 Years of Library Service

In 1874, St. Augustine opened the oldest library in Florida as a “subscription library.” The library was called the St. Augustine Free Public Library. Patrons gave money to help buy books for the library, and there was no charge to check out items.

By the 1970s there were three independent libraries in St. Augustine, Hastings and Mill Creek serving the residents of St. Johns County. Through the hard work and dedication of many supporters, especially the members of the Association of American University Women, a Library System was born.

On September 27, 1977, the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners voted to establish a Library System for the County, along with a Library Advisory Board. Within 10 years a new 15,000 square foot Main Library would be opened, followed in coming years by the construction of five more branch libraries and the addition of two bookmobiles. The growth of St. Johns County has been mirrored by the growth of its Library System!

This year will mark the 40th Anniversary of the creation of the St. Johns County Public Library System and we are marking this event by posting a collection of images on our website and our Flickr page.

We would love to also highlight and share any images that you might have from the past 40 years that shows pictures of the Library or the Library Staff. We love being part of this community! Visit your local library if you have photos you would like to share with us or email your photos to

The Growth of a Library System

St. Johns County establishes a library system with the Main and Hastings Branches (cont.)Ponte Vedra Beach & Bartram Trail Branches opened (cont.)Bookmobile started (cont.)Southeast Branch opened (cont.)Anastasia Island Branch opened (cont.)Celebrating 40 years of service.


Enter our 40th Anniversary Trivia Contest




Help us celebrate 40 years of library service in St. Johns County by testing your knowledge of our libraries!  Answer all 40 questions and turn in your entry form into your local branch by September 21st.  (HINT: All the answers can be found on our library’s website All entries will be entered into a system wide drawing for a fabulous prize on September 27th. Pick up your entry form at your branch library or bookmobile, or download a form here. Have fun and thanks for celebrating with us!