Paying homage to the historic black neighborhood of Central Avenue, the Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library, originally known as the Ybor City Branch Library, was renamed in honor of the civil rights activist and former NAACP Field Director. Mr. Saunders was named Florida’s second NAACP Field Director after the bombing assassination of Harry T. Moore. He was Field Director from 1952-1965, during some of the most turbulent years of the civil rights movement.
Hall of History
Located on the first floor of the library, this interactive mini-museum features interactive displays and exhibits highlighting the historic Central Avenue business district.
The African American History & Genealogy Library features the only African American focused genealogy reference collection in Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Libraries.
The circulating collection features titles on all facets of African American life, history and culture.
The general reference collection has a variety of encyclopedias, atlases, local history binders, newspaper clippings and more.
The area is enhanced with a display of authentic African art.
The archives room features rare books, microfilm and historical memorabilia.
Freedmen's Bureau Records
The Records of the Reconstruction-era government agency, which offered legal, economic and social assistance to freed slaves from 1865-1872, on microfilm.
Local history reference binders featuring resources on the historic black neighborhoods of Tampa.
The Florida Sentinel Bulletin newspaper has had a long and influential history. In 1919, William W. Andrews, the father of C. Blythe Andrews, Sr. started the Florida Sentinel newspaper in Jacksonville, Florida. The newspaper closed, but in December 1945 C. Blythe Andrews, Sr. re-opened it at 1511 Central Avenue in Tampa, Florida. He went on to buy the Tampa Bulletin in 1959 and merged the two papers into the Florida Sentinel Bulletin. Mr. Andrews remained the publisher until 1976. His son, C. Blythe Andrews, Jr., became editor-in-chief after his father’s death on April 2, 1977.
In December 1996, Mr. C. Blythe Andrews Jr., turned over the reins to his daughter S. Kay Andrews and his son C. Blythe, III. In May 2019, the organization transferred 118 bound volumes (1945-2010) to the C. Blythe Andrews, Jr. Public Library’s Florida Sentinel Bulletin Collection for long term preservation and digitization.
The Florida History & Genealogy Library, on the 4th floor of the John F. Germany Public Library, is home to one of the largest genealogy collections in the southeastern United States. The library collects Florida history and genealogy materials related to multiple ethnic groups.
The Library has a wide selection of genealogy resources such as books, periodicals, journals, and microfilm. Additionally, the library also has books related to various ethnic groups, foreign countries, and the U.S. military.
The reference collection has over 7,000 titles about Florida History.
The telephone and city directory collection includes a significant amount of books related to Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.
The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and Florida maps provide a wealth of local geographic and building information.
The newspaper collection has 19th and 20th century local and Florida newspapers on microfilm.