Libraries in florida

Best 15 Libraries To Visit In Florida (updated)

When I think of Florida, the first thing that pops into my mind is not a library. Librarians are probably at the very bottom of a list of occupations I would associate with the state. However, Florida is home to some of the most impressive and beautiful libraries.

As it turns out, this stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth. There are actually some fantastic libraries in Florida, and I feel they deserve way more attention than they get, so here’s a list to help you discover them.  

1. Chabad Lubavitch of Pinellas County Library

Chabad Lubavitch of Pinellas County Library

The Chabad Lubavitch of Pinellas County Library is the only Jewish library in the state. It serves as a lending library for Judaic materials with study halls and conference rooms used for lectures, seminars, holiday celebrations, and other functions.

The collection contains over 8,000 titles of Judaica, with an emphasis on English literature about Judaism with Hebrew works in translation too. Some items date back to 15th century Italy with original manuscripts still today. As well as books, it also holds many fascinating ritual objects like tefillin (phylacteries), Torah ornaments, Kiddush cups, and more. You can even borrow (or rent) prayer shawls and other items.

  • location: 1050 5th St N, Saint Petersburg, FL 33701-4304
  • open timing: Sun-Thurs 10am-9pm,Fri 10am-3pm
  • website: Chabad Lubavitch
  • Entry Fees: free

2. Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library

Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library

The Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library is a whopping 163,000 square feet making it the largest public library in Florida. It has something for everyone with its extensive collection of books, audiovisual materials, periodicals, and more.

It also offers plenty of services, including free computer and internet access, Wi-Fi, printing and photocopying services, language learning classes, meeting rooms, and more. There’s even a recording studio on-site!

  • location: 900 N Ashley Dr, Tampa, FL 33602
  • open timing: Mon-Thurs 9am-9pm,Fri-Sat 9am-6pm,Sun 1pm-5pm
  • website: Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library
  • Entry Fees: free

3. Miami-Dade Public Library

The Miami-Dade Public Library is yet another impressive institution and the largest public library in Florida. With its central location in downtown Miami, it’s well used by both locals and tourists alike.

It has a vast collection of over 2 million items, including books, magazines, newspapers, DVDs, CDs, and more. It also offers many services, including free computer and internet access, Wi-Fi, meeting rooms, and more. Plus, if you’re feeling hungry, there’s a cafĂ© on-site too!

  • location: 101 W Flagler St, Miami, FL 33130
  • open timing: Mon 9am-9pm,Tue-Wed 9am-6pm,Thu-Fri 9am-5pm,Sat 10am-5pm
  • website: Miami-Dade Public Library
  • Entry Fees: free

4. Orange County Regional History Center Library and Research Archives

The History Center is home to an impressive library containing over 30,000 titles on Florida history plus another 25,000 maps and some 6 million images of photos and postcards. It’s open to anyone who wishes to view the material, but you must request permission if you wish to take anything out for copying or scanning purposes. Of course, you can access most of the records online too.

As well as books, it also offers artifacts dating back hundreds of years, with many items having Florida themes like documents, letters, and diaries.

The Center also hosts lectures and events too on the subject of history.

  • location: 65 E Central Blvd, Orlando, FL 32801-5013
  • open timing: Mon 9am-4:30pm,Tue-Fri 9am-4:30pm
  • Entry Fees: Free entry but copy/scan fees apply for some materials

5. Firefighter’s Museum Library & Archive of History

The Firefighter’s Museum is home to an extensive library containing over sixty thousand volumes devoted to firefighting and allied trades such as engineering. It also features journals, rare books, and a wide collection of artifacts and memorabilia.

It’s open to anyone who wishes to visit, but if you wish to remove any material from the library, then permission is required first. There are fire trucks on display for those looking for a bit more authenticity!

  • location: 2803 Park Ave, West Palm Beach, FL 33409-4432
  • open timing: Tue-Fri 9am-4pm
  • Entry Fees: Free entry but copy/scan fees apply for some materials

6. Brevard County Law Library

The county law library houses over 14,000 volumes dedicated to Florida legal matters, which can be borrowed by researchers or legal professionals working within the state. It also contains court forms, information about Florida statutes and codes, and a whole range of other reference materials.

Those who want to read a bit more have self-study cubicles available with computers and internet access. Plus, there’s a resource room containing audio-visual material and onsite copiers for printing.

  • location: 15 S Rosalind Ave, Titusville, FL 32796-2125
  • open timing: Mon 8am-5pm (closed 1pm-2pm),Tue-Fri 8am-5pm (closed 1pm-2pm)
  • Entry Fees: Free entry but copy/scan fees apply for some materials

7. Florida State University Law Library

The FSU Law Library is one of the biggest law libraries in the state and contains an impressive collection of over 500,000 volumes. It’s open to the public and offers a wide range of services such as access to online databases, Wi-Fi, group study rooms, and more.

It also has a large number of law journals on offer, as well as legal research guides to help you get started.

  • location: 2801 N Monroe St, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1316
  • open timing: Mon-Thu 7:45am-11pm,Fri 7:45am-6pm,Sat 9am-5pm,Sun 10am-10pm
  • website: Florida State University Law Library
  • Entry Fees: Free entry but copy/scan apply for some materials

8. Orange County Public Library

The Orange County Public Library offers a range of librarianship resources on Florida history and culture, including books, archival material, and original documents. You can search their online catalog for materials or contact them to arrange an appointment with a librarian. In addition, they have public computers available to access the internet too.

They also have an impressive collection of around 30,000 images taken by Henry Flagler from 1885-1890, which you can view online.

  • location: 101 E Central Blvd, Orlando, FL 32801-5013
  • open timing: Mon-Thu 9am-9pm,Fri 9am-6pm,Sat 10am-6pm (closed 1st Sat of each month),Sun 1pm-5pm
  • website: Orange County Public Library
  • Entry Fees: Free entry but copy/scan fees apply for some materials

9. Polk County Historical Association

The Polk County Historical Association is a great place to learn more about the state’s history. Not only do they have a library and archives containing over 1,000 items, but they also offer tours, lectures, and workshops on various aspects of Florida’s past.

You can also access their online catalog to search for materials you can then request through mail or in person.

  • location: 223 N Broadway Ave, Bartow, FL 33830
  • open timing: Tue-Fri 9am-4pm
  • Entry Fees: Free entry but copy/scan fees apply for some materials

10. University of Central Florida Libraries – John C. Hitt Library

UCF’s John C. Hitt Library offers a wide range of resources for students, staff, and the general public. This includes a selection of legal databases, e-books, journals, and more.

They also have several special collections available, which you can browse on their website. These include materials on Florida history, the citrus industry, space exploration, and more.

  • location: 4000 Central Florida Blvd, Orlando, FL 32816
  • open timing: Mon-Thu 7am-1am,Fri 7am-10pm,Sat 9am-10pm,Sun 11am-1am
  • website: University of Central Florida Libraries – John C. Hitt Library
  • Entry Fees: Free entry but copy/scan fees apply for some materials

11. University of Miami – Otto G. Richter Library

The Otto G. Richter Library at the University of Miami is a great place to start researching Florida history and culture. They have an extensive collection of books, journals, newspapers, and other materials which you can access online or in person.

They also offer several special collections, which you can explore on their website. These include Cuban and Latin American history materials, Miami architecture, and more.

  • location: 1301 Memorial Dr, Coral Gables, FL 33146
  • open timing: Mon-Thu 7:30am-2am,Fri 7:30am-10pm,Sat 9am-10pm,Sun 12pm-2am
  • website: University of Miami – Otto G. Richter Library
  • Entry Fees: Free entry but copy/scan fees apply for some materials

12. University of South Florida – Tampa Library

The University of South Florida’s Tampa Library is a great place to start your research on Florida history and culture. They have an extensive collection of books, journals, newspapers, and other materials which you can access online or in person.

They also offer several special collections, which you can explore on their website. These include materials on the Seminole Wars, Floridian coastal communities, and more.

  • location: 4202 E Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL 33620-5800
  • open timing: Mon-Thu 7am-1am,Fri 7am-10pm,Sat 9am-10pm,Sun 11am-1am
  • website: University of South Florida – Tampa Library
  • Entry Fees: Free entry but copy/scan fees apply for some materials

13. University of West Florida – Pensacola Library

The University of West Florida’s Pensacola Library is a great place to start your research on Florida history and culture. They have an extensive collection of books, journals, newspapers, and other materials which you can access online or in person.

They also offer several special collections, which you can explore on their website. These include materials on the civil rights movement, Spanish colonial architecture, and more.

  • location: 11000 University Pkwy Pensacola, FL 32514-5750
  • open timing: Mon-Thu 7am-1am,Fri 7am-10pm,Sat 9am-10pm,Sun 11am-1am
  • website: University of West Florida – Pensacola Library
  • Entry Fees: Free entry but copy/scan fees apply for some materials

14. Deering Estate at Cutler

The Deering Estate at Cutler is a historic site and nature preserve located in Miami. It offers some programs and activities which focus on the estate’s history, natural environment, and art collections.

You can also access their online catalog to search for materials you can then request through mail or in person.

  • location: 16701 SW 72nd Ave, Miami, FL 33157
  • open timing: Tue-Fri 9am-4pm,Sat 10am-5pm,Sun 12pm-5pm
  • website: Deering Estate at Cutler
  • Entry Fees: admission fees apply for some activities and events

15. Tampa Bay History Center

The Tampa Bay History Center is a museum and research center located in Tampa. It offers several exhibits that focus on the history of the Tampa Bay region.

You can also access their online catalog to search for materials you can then request through mail or in person.

  • location: 801 Old Water St, Tampa, FL 33602
  • open timing: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm,Sat 10am-5pm,Sun 12pm-5pm
  • website: Tampa Bay History Center
  • Entry Fees: admission fees apply for some activities and events

Conclusion

I hope you have enjoyed reading this list of 15 Libraries with Special Florida Collection. If you think we’ve missed a great one, please let us know in the comments below, and we’ll add it!

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