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The Jacksonville Public Library is a large library system, consisting of a 300,000 sq. ft. Main Library and twenty regional, community and neighborhood branch libraries. We also serve the needs of the community with Talking Books Library for Disabled Customers and an activeadult literacy program.

The system directly serves residents and employees of Duval County both within the Jacksonville city limits and the Beaches and Baldwin communities. Residents of neighboring Baker, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns Counties are also able to partake of the services provided by JPL provided they meet the following criteria:

  • A resident or property-owner in Duval County
  • An employee of the City of Jacksonville, (Offices/Agencies of City Government)
  • Currently attending a college located in Jacksonville, or
  • Military personnel or family members of military personnel who reside in the state of Florida (must have valid military ID).

About the Library

Strategic Plan


Start Here. Go Anywhere!


To enrich lives, build community, and foster success by bringing people, information, and ideas together.

Core Values

  • Service: We are dedicated to making a positive difference in people’s lives.
  • Teamwork: Life is better when we work together.
  • Excellence: We settle for nothing less than the highest quality outcomes.
  • Innovation: We prize creativity, flexibility, imagination, and fresh ideas.



GOAL #1. Outstanding Customer Experience

The library provides the people of Jacksonville an outstanding experience with every encounter.

GOAL #2. Maximum Value

The library maximizes public awareness, relationships, efficiency, and funding in order to provide the greatest benefit possible to the people of Jacksonville.

GOAL #3. Engaged and Skilled Staff

The people of Jacksonville are served by an engaged library staff with the skills and training they require to provide high-quality, 21st Century library and information services.

Focus Areas

GOAL #4. Technological Success

The library improves service through technological advances and helps customers benefit from information technology in their own lives.

GOAL #5. Educational Success
The library supports the educational success of Jacksonville’s youth.

GOAL #6. Economic Success
The library provides information resources and programs to help the people of Jacksonville find jobs, start and grow small businesses, and manage personal finances.

Approved by the Board of Library Trustees on September 12, 2013

View complete plan

2016 Library Funding

In order to sufficiently fund library operations, programs and services, the library budget is supplemented with various private, state and federal grants, and private donations through the library’s Resource Development Office, Jacksonville Friends of the Public Library and the Jacksonville Public Library Foundation.

Fiscal Year 2016 Operating Budget

Salaries and Benefits


Direct Operating Expenses (General Fund)    


Library Books and Materials    


ITD Allocations    


Other Internal Service Allocations    


Indirect Costs    


Total City Funds*   


State Aid FY13 Grant**
(equipment, furniture, books and materials)     



Total$ 33,019,923


*Funding source: City of Jacksonville

**Funding source: State Aid to Libraries

Facts and Figures - Fiscal Year 2015

Main Library location: 303 Laura Street North

Locations: Main Library plus 20 branches across Jacksonville, all within Duval County

Collection size: 2,354,787 books, e-materials, periodicals, DVDs, CDs and other materials

Circulation: Library materials were checked out more than 5.9 million times

Library visitors: More than 3.4 million

Library cardholders: 675,186

Website usage: 3.1 million visits

e-Library circulation: 396,548

Program attendance for children, teens and adults: 177,977 individuals

Career Opportunities

The value of the Jacksonville Public Library lies not in merely providing information. Our value lies in the expertise behind that information that enriches a customer’s library experience—expertise provided by our knowledgeable and dedicated staff.

If you’re interested in contributing your expertise to enrich the library experience for our customers, we invite you to apply for a position with us.

Job opportunities available at the Jacksonville Public Library are listed on the City of Jacksonville Job Opportunities page.

History of JPL

Early Beginnings

The Jacksonville Public Library had its beginnings when May Moore and Florence Murphy started the "Jacksonville Library and Literary Association" in 1878. The Association was populated by various prominent Jacksonville residents and sought to create a free public library and reading room for the city.

Moore and Murphy's Association succeeded in establishing their free public reading room, Jacksonville's first, in the winter of 1878-1879. It was located in the Astor Building, on the corner of Bay and Hogan, and was manned by librarian James Douglas. Here visitors could find books, papers and periodicals.

In 1883, the Jacksonville Library and Literary Association was reorganized and renamed the Jacksonville Library Association. The new Association built Jacksonville's first public library building, described as "a neat one-story frame building having a steep roof and a small entrance porch in front facing Adams Street."

Like a Phoenix From the Flames

The Adams Street building was replaced in 1894 by a new building that the Association shared with the Board of Trade and the Elks Club. This building, on the northeast corner of Main and Adams, housed Jacksonville's public library until May 3, 1901, when the Great Fire destroyed it.

Help for rebuilding came in 1902 in the form of Andrew Carnegie, who offered $50,000 for a new library, provided that the city had a building site and appropriated at least $5,000 a year for library support.

In a citywide referendum which passed by a margin of only 15 votes (640 to 625), Jacksonville agreed. In January, 1903 the city passed an ordinance establishing a free public library and a board of nine trustees to govern it.

On October 3, 1903, ground was broken for the Carnegie library on the northeast corner of Adams and Ocean. Two years later, on June 1, 1905, the library was formally opened with George B. Utley as librarian. Known officially as the Jacksonville Free Public Library, it was the beginning of the Jacksonville Public Libraries. It was also the first tax-supported library in Florida.

Designed by architect Henry John Klutho in the Neo-Classic Revival style, the library was two stories tall, made of limestone and copper. Its design was Greek Ionic, typical of Carnegie libraries, and featured four columns on the facade. It has been described as nearly fireproof, with wood only in the floors, doors and sash.

Today it houses a law firm and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Growth and Expansion

In 1907, George Utley said that the library was "fast becoming securely established as a part of the municipal fabric, and is considered more and more a necessity and less and less a luxury by the citizens of Jacksonville." By 1910 the library was outgrowing itself. The library made use of deposit stations and sub branches, but space in the Carnegie building became an increasingly rare commodity. Thus, in the 1920's a branch system was inaugurated which continues to flourish to this day.

The first branch, the Wilder Park Library, opened November 14, 1927 on the corner of Lee and Third streets. This was followed by a bookmobile service on October 30, 1928. From that time until the present, branches have continued to be opened, renovated and modernized, resulting in the current library system of a Main Library and 16 additional units. The original branch library was replaced on June 22, 1965 with the Graham Branch Library.

With the Better Jacksonville Plan, renovations of existing branches as well as construction of six new regional units were planned. The first new branch built as part of the BJP project, University Park Branch opened in early October 2004, followed by Pablo Creek Branch later that month.

Less than a year later, in August 2005, the Better Jacksonville Plan renovations and expansions to the branch system were complete. The last renovated branch, Southeast Regional, re-opened on Monday, August 29th, with nearly 12,000 sq. ft of new floorspace, new Children's and Teen rooms, and expanded reading areas and shelving. The last new branch, the West Branch, opened on Saturday, August 27th, with nearly 50,000 sq. ft., making this newest addition the third largest library in the system. 

Recession and Revival

In the 1950's public interest in the libraries faded, along with adequate budget support. Lack of funding led to low book stocks, poorly trained staff and poorly maintained buildings. As Librarian Joseph F. Marron stated in an annual report, "Impending institutional bankruptcy was a phrase being applied to this first tax-supported public library in the state of Florida."

However, when the city commission and city council approved a 19 percent increase in the libraries' operational budget for 1957, the Jacksonville Public Libraries began to revive. The Friends of the Jacksonville Public Library, formed in 1956 with the intent of inspiring interest in libraries, are credited as a major influence in bringing about the increased budget.

During these years, the Main Library continued to be inadequate. In 1957, Library Consultant John Hall Jacobs identified the need for a new main library as the single greatest need of the system. After his survey, Jacksonville began to seriously consider a new main facility.

Again, the Friends of the Jacksonville Public Library, pushed hard for support of the libraries. A major capital campaign was instituted to inspire the public to vote for the construction of a new Main Library. When the votes were counted, library enthusiasts had won -- Jacksonville would get its new library building.

In March 1960, the city approved a location for the new Main Library: the site of old City Hall, along with 60 additional feet of property previously occupied by the Windle Hotel. After selecting the design submitted by Taylor Hardwick, a prominent local architect, construction could begin. In March 1964, ground was broken at 122 North Ocean Street. On November 28, 1965, the new building was dedicated, and the next day it was opened for service to the public.

The Main Library was named after Haydon Burns, former Mayor of Jacksonville (1949-1965) and Governor of Florida (1965-67). The structure was designed to be both aesthetic and useful. As one newspaper reporter said of the library, "the ultramodern showplace is a symphony of color, texture and functional design."

The 21st Century and Beyond

On September 3, 2005, the Haydon Burns Library closed its doors for the last time. The Main Library building was now over 30 years old and showing its age. Due to space and wiring limitations, the building is inadequate for the needs of the growing Jacksonville community. In September of 2000, the citizens of Jacksonville voted for the Better Jacksonville Plan, which provided funding for a new Main Library building, six new regional branch libraries and improvements at most existing branches.

On November 12, 2005, the new Main Library opened to the public. The opening is a historic event for the library system and the City of Jacksonville. It marks the completion of an unprecedented period of growth for the system under the Better Jacksonville Plan. It adds to the city's architectural and cultural landscape and provides a wonderful gathering place downtown for the entire community. The new Main Library offers specialized reading rooms, public access to hundreds of computers and extensive collection of books and other materials.

The Main Library remains the centerpiece for a library system which has developed and grown dramatically for over a century. With the construction of new facilities and the modernizing of old ones, Jacksonville's libraries continue to change to meet the needs of its customers . It is with optimism and enthusiasm that the Jacksonville Public Library looks ahead to the years to come.

Annual Report 2015-16

Annual Report 2015-16


Special District Accountability Program

Jacksonville Public Library - General Information

Contact Information

Mailing Address:

303 N. Laura Street
Jacksonville, FL  32202




Registered Agent:  Mark Merritt

303 N. Laura Street
Jacksonville, FL  32202

Governing Body Members:  (email, term, appointing authority)

Revenue Information

Rates or amounts for current FY (click Returns panel)

Authorized Fees

General Financial Information

Board of Library Trustees


Department of Financial Services


Code of Ethics

Ethics Laws:

Retirement Benefit Plan

Retirement Benefit Plan




Comparison of 21 Library Visitor Counts, Circulation, & Computer Sessions

Month      Annual Usage Report
October 2015   2015
November 2015    
December 2015    
January 2016    
February 2016    
March 2016    
June 2016    

Capacity Plan Final Recommendations


Charting a course for the continued growth and development of the Jacksonville Public Library.


The Jacksonville Public Library selected through competitive bid Godfrey's Associates, Inc., a library planning and consulting firm, to develop a Capacity Plan to guide the library in delivering services. 

Godfrey's Associates utilized the data we collected in our earlier strategic planning process but also looked in more detail at JPL's capacity to provide services in the constrained fiscal environment we expect to operate in for the next few years. In addition, the firm examined our buildings and technology, and involved the community in making decisions about facilities, services and service capacity, and funding into the future. 

The consultants delivered a written capacity plan to JPL covering a 10 year time period. With input from the Library, the community, and stakeholders, the consultants formulated an integrated capacity plan that provides a roadmap for moving toward more sustainable facilities, Information Technology, services, and funding; that will guide decision making for resource deployment and service delivery; and that will include priorities, goals and objectives for the next 10 years. 

The Jacksonville Public Library Capacity Plan:  Recommendations from the Board of Library Trustees

For more information, contact Richard Mott, Manager for Strategic Initiatives.


Art in Jacksonville Public Libraries


Larry Kirkland uses the owl, a traditional symbol of wisdom, to identify the building as a place of information and learning. In ancient Greek mythology, Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, was the daughter of Zeus. She was able to change form, often into an owl. The golden key behind the owl incorporates the Greek letters for A and Z, referencing the beginning and the end, while the key itself unlocks the knowledge inside books.

Larry Kirkland (Washington, DC)
Bronze and painted stainless steel (20' x 9' x 9')


Wisdom 2005

Wisdom 2005

Grand Staircase

Working with local historians and community leaders, Kathryn Freeman used local architecture as the framework for the murals. In response to her invitation, over 1,000 school students wrote the artist regarding their favorite books, characters, and authors which the artist incorporated into the work. The murals include authors with ties to Jacksonville, characters from children's classics historic civic leaders, and favorite local pastimes.

Kathryn Freeman (Chevy Chase, MD)
Acrylic paint on muslin (2 murals, 36' x 18' each)

Post from RICOH THETA. #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA


Allegory of a Library

Allegory of a Library
Springfield Composition (2005) 

Explanation of Murals

Photography Collection

The works of ten notable photographers comprise the City of Jacksonville's Art in Public Places Photography Collection. Twenty-nine works are currently displayed in the lower level gallery of the downtown Main Library. The following artists are represented:

  • Linda Broadfoot (Atlantic Beach, FL)
  • Frank Dienst (Titusville, FL)
  • Judy Haberl (Newtonville, MA)
  • Tom Hager (Jacksonville, FL)
  • Theresa Segal (St. Augustine, FL)
  • Jay Shoots (Atlantic Beach, FL)
  • Anna Tomczak (Lake Helen, FL)
  • Jerry Uelsmann (Gainesville, FL)
  • Rick Wagner (Jacksonville Beach, FL)
  • Mark Sain Wilson (Atlantic Beach, FL)


Anna Tomczak, 5 Callas, 14 Poppies

Anna Tomczak, 5 Callas, 14 Poppies

Ribault's Landing

The 31-by-8 foot mural, painted by Jacksonville native son Lee Adams, is on display in the Special Collections Department of the Main Library. 

Conference Center

“Imagination Squared! A Creative Response Experiment” is installed in the Conference Center at the Main Library through the generous support of donors John and Julia Taylor, and the Friends of the Jacksonville Public Library. Conceived by local artists, sculptor Dolf James and painter Christina Foard, “Imagination Squared!” was intended as a snapshot of Jacksonville’s imagination, captured on 5-by-5-inch squares. Anyone could decorate a square; contributors ranged from accomplished artists to novices. The squares were painted, decoupaged, sculpted and even colored with crayons. Some were altered with found objects or photography. Each of the 910 squares is its own work of art which comprises the 18.5-by-16-foot exhibit. An electronic kiosk at the base of the exhibit allows visitors to get a closer look at each piece of art.  


Imagination Squared

Imagination Squared


SquirrelyQ is suspended across the glass façade of the building in five vertical columns. The fused glass, or glass that has been fired in a kiln at a range of high temperatures from 1100°F to 1500°F, is brightly colored and interestingly textured. The use of dichroic glass introduces in iridescent surface that creates a luminous effect in natural and artificial light. Additionally, Mapelli was commissioned to create Deepest Secrets, a mosaic of glass tiles, for Baptist Hospital South in Jacksonville, Florida in 2005.

Liz Mapelli (Portland, OR)
Glass (31 panels, 18" x 18" each)


SquirrelyQ (2005)

SquirrelyQ (2005)

"All of the wonderful things that we find in the world of imagination can be found between the pages of a book," Kelli Bickman writes. This whimsical and colorful mural depicts children engaged in reading to illustrate the transformative power of books, the magic of libraries, and the importance of imagination. Bickman is not only a painter, but has published her own book of photographs (What I Thought I Saw) in addition to illustrating and designing book jackets for several notable authors.

Kelli Bickman (Jacksonville, FL)
Acrylic paint on wood panels (16' x 7')


Imagination Tree (2005)

Imagination Tree (2005)

David Olson describes this work as an "abstract gestural starfield with constellations and a copper river undulating through the center." The title of the,Meander, refers to the windings of a river or the act of wandering. Like the title suggests, a library is a place to wander and discover, a place where facts and imagination meet.

David Olson (St. Augustine, FL
Etched copper and aluminum (9' x 12')


Meander (2005)

Meander (2005)

In Circ de Vie, Sarah Crooks Flaire explores the natural world by combining realistic figurative drawings with botanical imagery completing a bountiful circle of life. This monumental puzzle painting incorporates three-dimensional cutouts of the five elements (water, fire, earth, wind, space) and is a visual celebration of the diversity of living things.

Sarah Crooks Flaire (Jacksonville, FL)
Plywood, acrylic, and acrylic paint (12' diameter)


Circ de Vie (Circle of Life) (2006)

Circ de Vie (Circle of Life) (2006)

Allison Watson, a lifelong resident of North Florida, is renowned for large-scale landscape scenes of Florida and the South. Watson paints from her own photographs of local sites as well as remote locations around the world. Haven Creek depicts the woodland areas in Western Duval County.

Allison Watson (Jacksonville, FL)
Acrylic paint on canvas (5' x 3')


Haven Creek (2005)

Haven Creek (2005)

Untitled Quasicrystal Sculpture suggests the structure of a gigantic, 300 pound molecule. In fact, quasicrystal refers to a relatively new branch of crystallography, which is the study of atomic and molecular structure. Tony Robbin explains, "My work uses a new geometry taken from science and mathematics to create structures with new visual properties appearing to change shape as one passes by on foot." Much like a kaleidoscope, as you move closer to or farther away from the work, its configuration seems to magically transform. To date, Untitled Quasicrystal Sculpture is Robbin's only public art on view in the world.

Tony Robbin (New York, NY)
Aluminum and acrylic (8' x 15' x 3')


Untitled Quasicrystal Sculpture (2004)

Untitled Quasicrystal Sculpture (2004)

Joe Segal was confronted with a difficult task--to create a piece that would serve both as an artwork and as identification for the building. He chose to create one vertical sculpture while another horizontal sculpture doubles as a sign for the library and community center. Both illustrate Segal's trademark minimalism and hand-worked surfaces. In this work and others, the artist strips away the surface of the material to reveal what lies beneath, much like the erosive processes in nature. Both pieces intentionally compliment the exterior of the library.

Joe Segal (St. Augustine, FL)
Sculpture: Cast and carved concrete with hand-chiseled marble aggregate (13' x 6' x 4')
Sign: Cast concrete and hand-chiseled marble (3' x 14' x 4')


Revelation (2005)

Revelation (2005)

Jerry Smith

The painting depicts the artist's wife, Sonsheree Giles, and the scene depicts the riverfront park along River Road in San Marco. "I desire a sense of specific time and place," Smith states. "Most often I choose as subject matter those closest to me and the spaces inside and outside my door."

Jerry Smith (Jacksonville, FL)
Acrylic paint on panel (8' x 9')


A Gust of Wind #2 (2003)

A Gust of Wind #2 (2003)

Stepping Stones is a series of trompe l'oeil or "fool the eye" paintings depicting irregular groupings of stones painted directly on the floor tiles. Nofa Dixon is known for painterly surfaces on floor tiles and three dimensional clay forms. The artist also uses two-dimensional formats with "the intent of pushing the clay medium to new levels of form and embellishment."

Nofa Dixon (Jacksonville, FL)
Hand-painted, glazed, porcelain tiles (34 floor tiles, 15" x 15" each)


Stepping Stones (2005)

Stepping Stones (2005)

BJ Katz is a leader in the kiln-fired art glass industry. Inspired by the rich quality of sunlight in Florida, the artist created a work of art based on sunshine. Sun Salutations hangs under the glass ceiling of the library and is illuminated by natural light during the daytime. Light quality, viewer perspective, and light refraction make this piece appear to change; on a sunny day the piece looks different than on a cloudy day.

BJ Katz (Chandler, AZ)
Glass (7' x 4' x 1")


Sun Salutations (2005)

Sun Salutations (2005)

Eight icy blue panels of layered heat-formed acrylic sheets suggest forces in nature such as breaking waves. The artist states, "The interpretations of the viewer complete the work by the act of visual engagement. I welcome all possible interpretations." The artist guides the viewer with the title; the word "aqua" comes from the Latin word for water. Estlund is a 1992 graduate of the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville and grew up in Old Arlington.

Phillip Estlund (Lake Worth, FL)
Acrylic and aluminum (5' x 10' x 3')


Aquacycle (2004)

Aquacycle (2004)

Paul Braun explains, "Sculpture is about creating form in which the artist demonstrates control, balance, and mystery." The carved abstract symbols and organic patterns in the black soapstone are inspired by Celtic carvings and ancient stone formations, such as Stonehenge. Soapstone has been used for carvng for thousands of years by artisans throughout the world. Braun intentionally left the stone rough in some places to reveal the natural beauty of the material.

Paul Braun (St. Augustine, FL)
Black soapstone (3 sculptures, 3' x 4' x 1', 5' x 3' x 1', 6' x 2' x 1')


The Gathering (2005)

The Gathering (2005)

These larger-than-life size, three-dimensional sculptures resemble organic objects found in nature. Chapman describes the installation of the piece as a trophy showroom, displaying natural objects rather than animals. Chapman states, "I explore the phenomenon of collecting and how generations use objects to recall memories."

Dana Chapman (Jacksonville, FL)
Clay (20 pieces, minimum size: 9" x 1' x 1', maximum size: 3' x 2' x 1')


The Pathway to Consciousness (2005)

The Pathway to Consciousness (2005)

Jacksonville Public Library