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In 1891, the Charlotte Literary and Library Association was a subscription library located above Stone and Barringer's Bookstore. This means the library customers had to pay to use the library. After it closed, it became obvious that a city the size of Charlotte needed a public library. Alderman Thomas Franklin applied to the Carnegie Foundation and secured a $15,000 grant with the stipulation that the city had to provide the site and support the library with no less than $2500 annually. Architects Oliver D. Wheeler and J.M. McMichael drew plans for the classically designed structure that featured four columns and a domed cupola. In July of 1903, The Carnegie Library opened its doors at 310 North Tryon Street. It was the first free public library in Charlotte and the second one to open in North Carolina. Annie Smith Ross was the first librarian. The building has five rooms and 2,526 volumes. The North Carolina Library Association held its first Meeting here in 1904.