Built in 1912, Bristol Public Library is still known as a Carnegie library. Bristol is one of the many libraries built in the United States through the generosity of the philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie. Andrew Carnegie donated $6,000 toward the building of the library. The land for the 3,525 square foot library was donated by Judge and Mrs. Norman Gilbert. Judge Gilbert donated many books from his personal library to start the collection. Postcards were sent to area residents asking for further donations to help build the collection.
Since that time, the library has grown and changed. A 5,132 square foot addition, which now houses most of the library’s collection, was added to the back of the building in 1989. The Carnegie section was renovated and is now used for offices, a meeting room, a history room, a reading area and storage.
The following is the poem which appeared on the back of the postcard sent out by the library asking for donations of books:
“The New Library at Bristolville
Is in need of a book or two still;
We write to inquire if you yourself
Wouldn’t like to place one on its shelf?
Donate any kind you select,
No one will at all object.
Be it history or fiction,
There is no restriction.
If you have a book on art,
Or one dealing with the heart;
A worn one concerning theology,
Send it without an apology.
We leave it to your own selection,
Trusting we will receive a good collection.”
The Ohio Historical Society has recognized the Bristol Public Library as a significant part of Ohio history by awarding it an Official Ohio Historical Marker. The designation honors the library as an important and educational part of local history.