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Forsyth County Public Library

“Just as in 1906 . . . libraries . . . remain natural gathering spots for people who are interested in books, ideas and cultural activities.”

– John Via, Humanities Librarian Celebrating a Century: Forsyth County Public Library 1906-2006

The Forsyth County Public Library had a rocky start but concerned citizens persevered. It soon became one of the foremost library systems in the state.

The first community library in the city of Winston was established by Julius L. Tomlinson in 1886, at the West End School. An earlier attempt had been made to establish a public library in 1883, by newspaper editor, Edward Oldham and local attorney, Patrick Winston, but their plans were thwarted. Public response was at an all-time low. Only one person showed up for the interest meeting.

A few years later the idea was re-visited by John Cameron Buxton, the chairman of the school board. He spearheaded a campaign to build a free public library and solicited the help of well-know philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie. The Carnegie Library, at the corner of Cherry and Third streets was dedicated February 14, 1906.

The first public library in Winston-Salem for African-Americans opened on February 15, 1927. The branch, named for the famous poet, George Moses Horton, was located in the Chestnut Street branch of the YWCA.

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Supported by grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.