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History of the Library

Cobb County Public Library is a 15-branch system headquartered in Marietta, Georgia, where its staff members serve a diverse population of over 750,000 people. Cobb is one of Georgia’s fastest-growing counties, and Cobb County Public Library is dedicated to being a resource center in the community by providing equal access to information, materials, and services.

Cobb County Public Library is proud to be a place of possibilities, where its citizens can dream, dare, and discover.

The Early Years

old Main Library, circa 1960s

Library service began in Cobb County with the Marietta Young Men’s Debating and Library Association in 1874. In 1882, the Franklin Lending Library was opened in the home of Sarah Freeman Clarke and in 1883 the Marietta Library Association was founded. The first library building, the Sarah Freeman Clarke Library, opened on Church Street in 1893. In the city of Acworth, the Carrie Dyer Reading Club was established in 1889. Austell established library service through the Austell Woman’s Club in the late 1920’s.

The Middle Years

inside the Old Main Library, circa 1963

Cobb County established a library through the Board of Education in 1948. In 1957, a Cobb County-Marietta Public Library Board was organized. Finally, in 1959, the city of Marietta and Cobb County combined bringing the Clarke, Fort Hill, and Marietta Place libraries into the Cobb County system. In short order, library service began to grow throughout the entire county.

New branches were opened in East Marietta and Powder Springs in the early 1960s. South Cobb opened a branch that was supported with private funds but joined the system a year later. Oakdale (now Lewis A. Ray Library) was formed the same year. In 1963, Acworth Library (from the Carrie Dyer Woman’s Club) joined the system, Kennesaw established a branch, and the old Marietta Post Office was renovated to become Central Library. In 1964 and 1965, Gritters Library was established and Sweetwater Library joined from Austell.

Rapid Growth

inside the old Kennesaw Library

The years of 1966 - 1969 signaled rapid development of library service in Cobb County. A Bond Issue made the construction of seven branches possible and Kennesaw, East Marietta, Acworth, South Cobb, Sibley, Lewis A. Ray, and Powder Springs all opened on the same day in 1967. Finally in 1969, the Cobb County Public Library System was officially named. New branches were added in 1974 (Stratton) and 1979 (Merchant’s Walk).

A Bond Issue in 1987 paved the way for the construction of Central and three new branches that opened in 1989 and 1990. West Cobb Regional Library opened in 2002 in Kennesaw, and South Cobb Regional Library opened in 2005 in Mableton. Sweetwater Library moved from the old library building in downtown Austell and into the historic Threadmill Complex in 2003. In 2007, Powder Springs Library moved into a new facility on Atlanta Road as part of a joint project with the City of Powder Springs.

More Recent Additions

storytime inside the old Sweetwater Library

East Cobb Library opened on February 1, 2010, replacing Merchant’s Walk Library. Sewell Mill Library & Cultural Center, a joint-use facility with Cobb PARKS, opened in December 2017 replacing East Marietta Library. It features a Creative Studio, Black Box Theater, and outdoor amphitheater. North Cobb Regional Library opened in September 2019 and consolidated Acworth and Kennesaw Libraries. North Cobb Regional Library features a computer training room, a Makerspace, a Teen Lounge, and an outdoor patio.