About Us

In 1957 the Friends of the Library was formed to establish a free public library system in Collier County. Their diligent efforts helped create what is now the Collier County Public Library System with three large regional libraries and seven smaller branches.

Mission Statement

. . . to support Collier County Public Library; to obtain greater usefulness or wider use of library; and to support the literary and educational needs of the community through the Public Library.


The Friends of the Library is governed by a Board of Directors elected from the membership of the Corporation for three-year terms. The Board oversees the programs, projects, and financial status of the Friends; appoints committees to provide for the efficient management of the affairs of the corporation; and raises funds through events, contributions, subscriptions, dues, legacies, devices, and other legal means.
Naples Regional Library | Friends of the Library of Collier County

Our Unique History

1932 – the beginning

In 1932, as a service to the community, the Woman’s Club of Naples on Park Street opened a small book room and lending library with donated secondhand books and a few new books, too. Later, their location moved to 518 11th Avenue South, a home donated to them.

1953 – the first librarian

Mrs. O. L. Harris was appointed in 1953 as the first librarian.
Collier County Public Library Bookmobile | Friends of the Library of Collier County

1957- formation

1957 was a pivotal year for libraries in Collier County:
  • The Friends of the Library was formed to generate interest in a public library and secure support and donations. Judge E. A. Wildermuth, Attorney Ben Parks, Jr. and Collier County News Editor Michael Chance, were instrumental in this effort.
  • After applying for and receiving a Federal grant of $40,000, the Friends of the Library petitioned Collier County for approval to create a Public Library. (At that time, the county seat was in Everglades City.)
  • The Board of County Commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of creating a free county public library, now known as the Collier County Public Library, Inc.
  • The first Collier County Library Board was created with a representative from each of the five Commission Districts. Attorney Parks was elected president.
  • The Collier County Free Public Library began leasing space from the Naples Woman’s Club in their new location, 570 Park Street.

1958 – a bookmobile is acquired

The next year, 1958, a traveling bookmobile was purchased to provide continuous services to county residents in remote locations such as Everglades City, Immokalee and Marco Island. The bookmobile service continued through 1981.

1963 – land donated

In 1963 Naples residents Mr. & Mrs Ferdinand Lee purchased a city block in downtown Naples (between Central and 1st Avenue South, 6th and 7th Streets). They donated it to the Collier County Friends of the Library with the provision that it would remain in the possession of the Friends and used for library purposes. The land was valued at $100,000 and is a restricted asset on the Friends’ books.

1966 – the first library

The grand opening of the new Collier County Public Library at 650 Central Avenue was in February 1966. (It is now the Naples Regional Branch Library, after other library locations were established.)The Friends of the Library office is at that library, and the Friends still own the land and lease it to the county for $1 per year.

Today – 10 county libraries

Today, there are ten libraries throughout Collier County, in Naples, Everglades City, Immokalee and Marco Island and the Friends of the Library have almost 3,000 members.

We're always looking to make more friends.

Friends of the Library Members help to ensure the enduring history of Collier County Libraries, and that is just the beginning. Membership advantages include access to exclusive programs and events, lecture series discounts, advance access to book sales, and more.