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Cobb County Public Library System

Coordinates: 33°57′0.3672″N 84°32′38.2992″W / 33.950102000°N 84.543972000°W / 33.950102000; -84.543972000
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Cobb County Public Library System
Charles D. Switzer Library
33°57′0.3672″N 84°32′38.2992″W / 33.950102000°N 84.543972000°W / 33.950102000; -84.543972000
LocationCobb County, Georgia
Size1,252,626 (2020)[1]
Access and use
Circulation2,851,855 (2020)[1]
Population served790,588 (2020)[1]
Members447,378 (2020)[1]
Other information
Budget$11.3 million (2014)
DirectorHelen Poyer[2]

The Cobb County Public Library System (CCPLS) is a system of 15 public libraries in Cobb County, Georgia, United States, excluding its second-largest city of Smyrna, which runs its own Smyrna Public Library. CobbCat.org is the online database of all CCPLS holdings.

The CCPLS uses an interlibrary loan system among all 15 branches, and allows for loan requests from other counties and areas through WorldCat. Those with a valid library card in the Cobb Country Library system can reserve materials online and pick them up in their local library. Books may be returned at any library in the system.[3]



Initial libraries


Cobb County's first library was the Marietta Young Men's Debating and Library Association, which debuted in 1874. For eight years this was the sole library of the county, until the opening of the Franklin Lending Library in 1882. With two libraries now present in the county the Marietta Library Association was founded in 1883. The first library building opened on Church Street, Marietta, and was named the Sarah Freeman Clarke Library in honor of the woman who housed the initial Franklin Lending Library collection in her home.[4] Following the opening of the Marietta Library Association, Acworth opened its first library, the Carrie Dyer Reading Club, in 1889.[5] Austell opened its first library through the Austell Woman's Club near the end of the 1920s, and the Smyrna Public Library was founded in this decade as well.[4][6][7]

Cobb County-Marietta Public Library Board


In 1948 the Cobb County Board of Education established the Cobb County Library, taking advantage of state matching funds in order to secure monies for books to support a future county library system. During this time, and into the early 1950s, J. Dennis Kemp became concerned about the lack of library resources in unincorporated areas of Cobb County, and went to the county commissioner to see if library outreach could be afforded to these communities. A county-appointed study committee created in 1956 began to explore the possibilities of joining the Cobb County library collection with the existing Clarke Library.[4] The next year the committee finalized a merger, creating the Cobb County-Marietta Public Library Board, and two years later in 1959 they combined and brought the Clarke and Fort Hill libraries to the system. Prior to this acquisition the Fort Hill branch was, for many decades, the only library where blacks could go.[8] At its inception this county library system consisted of 25,000 books with a budget of $10,500 split into thirds by the city school system, county school system, and the county government.[4]

With the library outreach committee continuing to explore areas of Cobb County to branch into, plans were made to grow the library system. In the late 1950s the Clarke Library moved to a larger building, the old U.S. Post Office, and had two bookmobiles serving the more rural regions. Seeing the success of the library system, the library board decided to construct branch libraries in growing towns with sufficient population densities. Thus, an onslaught of new libraries joined the system.[4]

Rapid growth for the system


In 1961 two branches in East Marietta and Powder Springs were added, and in 1962 South Cobb's previously private branch joined the system alongside the Oakdale (now Lewis A. Ray) Branch. In 1963 the Acworth Library joined, a new branch was established in Kennesaw, and Central Library moved into the building previously occupied by the old Marietta Post Office (currently the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art).[9] In 1964 and 1965 the Gritters and Sweetwater Valley branches respectively joined the system.[7]

The Veterans Park, located at the Powder Springs Library branch

With a rapidly growing number of branches, a 1965 voters' referendum authorized $985,000 of library bonds to be divided into library construction, land purchases, books, supplies, and equipment for the system.[10] Due to this bond, from 1966 to 1969 seven new libraries were added: Kennesaw, East Marietta, Acworth, South Cobb, Sibley, Lewis A. Ray, and Powder Springs.[4][11] All seven opened on the same day in 1967, and were met with public approval.[7][12]

With such a large number of libraries representing much more than just Marietta, the system changed its name to the present-day Cobb County Public Library System in 1969.[13] The Stratton branch was added in 1974, and the Merchant's Walk branch was added in 1979. In 1978 taxpayers overwhelmingly approved a $7.16 million library issue to renovate and expand the Switzer (then Central) library to 64,000 square feet, and construct the Kemp Memorial Library, Mountain View Library, and Vinings Library. The money was also used to renovate the Kennesaw and Powder Springs branches.[14] By the early 1980s the system had grown to fourteen libraries with an annual budget of $1.5 million and passed one million materials circulated annually.[4][15] The Fort Hill library was rededicated as the Hattie G. Wilson library in memory of the late librarian's 33 years of service.[16] The final two libraries added to the sixteen-branch system were the Mountain View and Vinings libraries, constructed in 1989 and 1990 respectively.

During the 1990s the population of Cobb County began to grow rapidly. The speed of the system's growth was unable to meet the needs of the growing population, and the amount of books in the collection dropped below one book per citizen. In July 1991 the Friends of the Library and the CCPLS urged the passage of a new $7.06 million bond referendum in order to provide enough books to meet the success of neighboring library systems.[17] Ultimately this bond referendum did not pass by 814 out of 60,000 votes.[18]

Modern years

The old East Marietta Branch Library, which was replaced by the Sewell Mill Library and Cultural Center

The Cobb County Library System has continued to see growth into the 21st century. In 2002 a library in West Cobb opened, and in 2005 the South Cobb Regional Library opened. In 2007 a new building was secured in Powder Springs, and their town library moved to its new location on Atlanta Road.[7]

In 2010 the East Cobb Library replaced the previously built Merchant's Walk Library and doubled the amount of floor space for books and technological improvements.[7] While interest in libraries in this area of Cobb County was high, the Hattie G. Wilson (formerly Fort Hill) library began to show signs of disuse. Citing a 50% loss of circulation, the Wilson Library was unanimously voted to shut down in 2013.[16]

Another renovation was approved in 2016 when the East Marietta Library was chosen for a new location and new building. This new facility, the Sewell Mill Library and Cultural Center, opened on December 4, 2017 at a cost of $10.6 million.[19] It was built in conjunction with the Cobb County Parks Department, and, in addition to a large collection of books, also has a black box theater, open-air amphitheater, art galleries and classrooms, and many individual and group conference rooms.[20]

In 2023, Cobb County Public Library was selected as the Georgia Library of the Year. [21]

Public libraries

Library Neighborhood served Image Founded Location Notes
East Cobb Library East Cobb County 2010 4880 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta, GA 30068 Formerly the Merchant's Walk Library, built in 1974, this library was sold for $1.3 million to develop a shopping center. The library opened February 1, 2010.[22] The library is currently leased in the shopping center until construction on the new building begins nearby.[23]
Gritters Library Shaw Park Area 1964 880 Shaw Park Road, Marietta, GA 30066 "Gritters” comes from the era when there were military districts. The 911th Militia District, known as Gritters, was officially organized in 1839.[24] Legend has it, an early grist mill in the area was known for gritty meal, and thus the library was named Gritters Mill.[24] Gritters was built in 1972 and opened on November 19, 1973.[24]
Kemp Memorial Library West Cobb County 1989 4029 Due West Road, Marietta, GA 30064 The property was donated by Frances Kemp Whitlow, from whom the library derives its name. The library boasts an open air and natural light building.[25]
Lewis A. Ray Library Smyrna, Georgia 1967 4500 Oakdale Road, Smyrna, GA 30080 Originally known as the Oakdale library, it was renamed in 1967 in honor of the Chairman of the Cobb County-Marietta Library Board, Dr. Lewis A. Ray, a dentist.[26][27]
Mountain View Regional Library East Cobb County 1989 3320 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta, GA 30066 Largest library branch in the system at the time of completion, and due to its proximity to four high schools the busiest as well.[28][29] This library underwent a major renovation in 2008 expanding the children's department and modernizing the technology and furniture in the interior.[30]
North Cobb Regional Library Kennesaw, Georgia 2019 3535 Old 41 Highway, Kennesaw, GA 30144 This library opened in September 2019 as a consolidation of the Kennesaw and Acworth Libraries. It has a teen area, makerspace, computer lab, and outdoor plaza. The children's area features learning toys.[31]
Powder Springs Library Powder Springs, Georgia 1961 4181 Atlanta Street, Bldg 1, Powder Springs, GA 30127 Library moved to a new facility in January 2008, on the site of the old Powder Springs elementary school.[32] The library features dedicated children and adult services areas and a meeting room, conceived in a style reminiscent of the old elementary school, which is named for Luke Penn, the school’s longtime custodian.[33]
Sewell Mill Library and Cultural Center East Marietta Area 2017 2051 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta, GA 30068 Constructed in 2017 to replace the East Marietta Branch Library, which had been standing since 1961. This library was created alongside the parks department, and has many features which set it aside from other libraries in the system, such as a black box theater and art gallery.[20]
Sibley Library Fair Oaks, Marietta, Georgia 1967 1539 South Cobb Drive, Marietta, GA 30060 Named after the first librarian of the system, Ms. Florence Weldon Sibley, known affectionately as "Miss Tib".[34] As a member of a wealthy, prominent family, most of her salary was donated toward library operations.[35]
South Cobb Regional Library Mableton, Georgia 1962 805 Clay Road, Mableton, GA 30126 Originally was a private library that joined the system in 1962. Its new location was completed in 2006.[36]
Stratton Library Marietta, Georgia 1974 1100 Powder Springs Rd. SW, Marietta, GA 30064 Named after the first director of the library system, Joanne P. Stratton.[37]
Sweetwater Library Austell, Georgia 1913 5000 Austell-Powder Springs Road Suite 123, Austell, GA 30106 Formed by the Austell Woman's Club, as one of its first projects it moved in 1922 to their headquarters and again in 1950 to its own building. The Sweetwater Library joined the Cobb county library system in 1966.[38] In 2001 the library purchased an historic three story thread mill, and by 2003 had fully moved into its new location.[39]
Switzer Library Marietta, Georgia 1963 226 Roswell Street, Marietta, GA 30060 Originally known as the Central Library, the name was changed in 2013 to honor longtime trustee Charles D. Switzer.[40] Its initial iteration existed in the old Marietta Post Office, and upon a $7.1 million library bond issue, constructed the new building, which opened in 1989.[41] The Switzer Library is home to the Georgia Room a genealogical and local history special collection. The Georgia Room was founded in 1970 through the generous bequest of Miss Virginia Vanstone Crosby in memory of her father, Charles Mayo Crosby.[42]
Vinings Library Vinings, Georgia 1990 4290 Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30339 The sixteenth to be added to the system, built from funds from the 1986 bond issue.[43]
West Cobb Regional Library Kennesaw, Georgia 2002 1750 Dennis Kemp Lane, Kennesaw, GA 30152 Serves as a reference and training resource for the other West Cobb branches while still functioning as a regular library.[44] Opened in May 2022.[45]

Library systems in neighboring counties



  1. ^ a b c d "A Current Look at Georgia Public Libraries and GPLS 2020" (PDF). GPLS. Retrieved 21 October 2023.
  2. ^ Gargis, John (October 9, 2016). "Commissioners to consider East Marietta Library construction contract". Marietta Daily Journal. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  3. ^ "ILL". cobbcat. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Scott, Thomas Allan (2003). Cobb County, Georgia and the Origins of the Suburban South. A Twentieth Century History (First ed.). Marietta, Georgia: Cobb Landmarks and Historical Society, Inc. pp. 412–417. ISBN 0-9743646-0-6.
  5. ^ Paden, Rebecca Nash; McTyre, Joe (2005). Images of America: Cobb County. Arcadia Publishing. p. 49. ISBN 0-7385-4164-8.
  6. ^ "Austell Club Lays Cornerstone". Vol. LIV, no. 287. The Atlanta Constitution. March 26, 1922. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e "History". Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  8. ^ Howard, Susan (December 29, 1983). "Fort Hill heralds liberation". Cobb Extra. For decades, the Fort Hill library at 350 Lemon Street was the only public library in Cobb County where blacks could go.
  9. ^ "Museum History". Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art. Archived from the original on 3 September 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  10. ^ Davis, Mary A. Elizabeth (May 12, 2016). How School-Delivered, Non-Instructional Services Become Formalized:One School System's History (Dissertation). Georgia State University. p. 59. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  11. ^ City of Kennesaw Comprehensive Plan 2006-2026 (PDF). Kennesaw, Georgia: MACTEC Engineering and Consulting, Inc. August 2006. p. 53. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 October 2015. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  12. ^ "Library Board, Staff Earn Praise". Marietta Daily Journal. March 7, 1967. No Cobb Countian could have attended Sunday afternoon's library dedication ceremony or open houses without feeling a swell of pride and confidence in his community.
  13. ^ The Political Librarian (Volume 2, Issue 2 ed.). December 2016. p. 44. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  14. ^ "Central Library Among Four Additions to System". Take Stock in Cobb. October 1989. p. 2.
  15. ^ "1980 Milestone Year For County Public Library". The Marietta Day Journal. February 1, 1981.
  16. ^ a b Gillooly, Jon (January 9, 2013). "Unanimous vote closes Hattie G. Wilson Library". Marietta Daily Journal. The Cobb Board of Commissioners closed the Hattie G. Wilson Library off Lemon Street in a 5-0 vote on Tuesday.
  17. ^ Kirby, Joe (July 5, 1992). "Library officials urge passage of $7 million bond, cite rise in use". Marietta Daily Journal. pp. 1, 10B.
  18. ^ Clelend-Pero, Cathy (January 28, 1993). "Libraries check out ways readers can help". Cobb Xtra. AJC.
  19. ^ "East Marietta Construction". cobbcat. Archived from the original on 21 February 2017. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  20. ^ a b Cunningham, Carolyn (April 8, 2016). "Cobb plans $10.6 million library, cultural center". AJC.com. Cox Media Group. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  21. ^ "Georgia Public Library Awards". GPLS. Georgia Public Library Service. 24 January 2024. Retrieved 2 July 2024.
  22. ^ "East Cobb Library | Cobb County Georgia". www.cobbcounty.org. Retrieved 2023-03-22.
  23. ^ Hungerford, Ashley (March 25, 2009). "Library sells for $1.3M". Marietta Daily Journal. The Cobb County Board of Commissioners approved the sale of the Merchant's Walk Library... for $1.3million. As part of the sale, Edens & Avant agree to lease 10,000 square feet of vacant space ... for the library while a more permanent structure is built.
  24. ^ a b c "Gritters History". CCPLS. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  25. ^ "Kemp Memorial History". CCPLS. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  26. ^ "Library Future Termed 'Bright'". Marietta Daily Journal. March 6, 1967. The new building which replaced the old branch in Oakdale is named for Dr. Ray.
  27. ^ "Lewis A. Ray Library | Cobb County Georgia". www.cobbcounty.org. Retrieved 2023-03-22.
  28. ^ Gill, Jeff (February 18, 1990). "Library expansion to continue in 1990 for Cobb's branches". Marietta Daily Journal. p. 18AA. Once completed it will be the largest branch in the library system at 16,000 square feet.
  29. ^ Moore, Lila (February 24, 1991). "Library meets needs". Marietta Daily Journal. The Mountain View branch in northeast Cobb, places on Sandy Plains Road in the midst of four high schools, has been the busiest in the system since the day it opened, outpacing even the main library.
  30. ^ "Mountain View Regional History". CCPLS. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  31. ^ "North Cobb Regional Library". Cobb County Georgia. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  32. ^ Hungerford, Ashley (January 23, 2008). "New library opens in Powder Springs". Marietta Daily Journal. pp. 1, 3B. The library is at the site of the old Powder Springs Elementary.
  33. ^ "Powder Springs Library | Cobb County Georgia". www.cobbcounty.org. Retrieved 2023-03-20.
  34. ^ Cleland-Pero, Cathy (October 8, 1989). "Community spirit keys library history". Marietta Daily Journal. Florence Weldon Sibley...died in April 1982. Her efforts were recognized in 1966 with the naming of the Sibley Branch Library on South Cobb Drive.
  35. ^ "Sibley Library | Cobb County Georgia". www.cobbcounty.org. Retrieved 2023-03-20.
  36. ^ Rodriguez, Yolanda (April 27, 2006). "Check out a bigger, better Cobb library". AJC.
  37. ^ Jay, Randy (June 24, 1990). "Cobb Public Libraries Date From Men's Debating Club". The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. p. S-14. Mrs. Stratton was instrumental in much of the growth. For example, in 1967 seven branch libraries were opened in one day and today a branch library on Powder Springs Road bears her name.
  38. ^ "Sweetwater Valley Library | Cobb County Georgia". www.cobbcounty.org. Retrieved 2023-04-24.
  39. ^ Heinz, Alison (December 11, 2002). "Commission OKs Sweetwater relocation". Marietta Daily Journal. The Cobb County Board of Commissioners gave the expected thumbs up to plans that call for moving the Sweetwater branch of the library to Austell's rapidly growing Threadmill Complex.
  40. ^ "In His Honor". Marietta Daily Journal. MDJonline.com. September 28, 2013. p. 2B. Charles D. Switzer becomes emotional after cutting the ribbon at the ceremony renaming the Cobb County Central Library as the Charles D. Switzer Public Library & Administrative Offices on Friday.
  41. ^ Cleland-Pero, Cathy (October 8, 1989). "Library to open Sunday". Marietta Daily Journal. pp. 1, 8A. Doors open today for the dedication of the new $6.8 million Cobb County Central Library...Voters approved a $7.1 million library bond issue on Nov. 4, 1986.
  42. ^ "About the Georgia Room | Cobb County Georgia". www.cobbcounty.org. Retrieved 2023-03-20.
  43. ^ Staff Reports (August 20, 1990). "Cobb officials dedicate newest county library". Marietta Daily Journal.
  44. ^ Schenke, Jarred (May 3, 1999). "Commission approves 'cozy' new library design". Marietta Daily Journal.
  45. ^ "West Cobb Regional Library | Cobb County Georgia". www.cobbcounty.org. Retrieved 2023-03-20.