The origin of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System begins with the establishment of the Young Men’s Library Association after the Civil War.
Initially set up as a subscription library, the YMLA recognized the need for a public library and began raising funds. Carnegie Library opened in 1902, becoming one of the country’s first public libraries.
Carnegie Library remained the city’s main library for decades until being torn down and replaced with the Central Library in 1977. Today, the system is composed of the Central Library, Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History and 32 branch libraries.