CCLS History


The Clayton County Library System was founded in January of 1941 through the efforts of the Jonesboro Women’s Club. The library began with a collection of 200 books that the Women’s Club borrowed from the WPA. A room was rented above the old Jones Brothers Department Store on South Main Street, across from the railroad depot. Mrs. Mary Barnette became the first librarian.

1960: The Jonesboro library joined the Flint River Regional Library System, headquartered in Griffin, GA. This alliance allowed Clayton citizens to use the region’s larger collection of books, staff, of professional librarians and bookmobile services. In 1964, groundbreaking for a new Jonesboro library began. In 1966, the library opened on the corner of Smith and Lee Streets in downtown Jonesboro, the Jonesboro Branch’s current location. In 2022, the Jonesboro Branch was demolished.

1967: The Forest Park Branch opened on Main Street in Forest Park. See some early photos of the Forest Park library.

1968: The Riverdale Branch opened, then located on GA Hwy. 85 near Upper Riverdale Rd.

1975: The Morrow Junior Women's Club (MJWC) spearheaded the drive to add a fourth branch in Clayton County's Morrow area. The MJWC petitioned the county commission with the backing of other local civic groups. The temporary quarters were found in a former clothing store inside a small shopping plaza on Old Rex Road across from Morrow Senior High School.

1978: By May 17, 1978, the Morrow Branch had already outgrown the first location and moved to its present location at the intersection of Lake Harbin and Maddox Roads. 

1981: The libraries of Clayton County were so successful that they left their affiliation with the Flint River Regional System and the Clayton County Library System was formed.

1988: The Headquarters library was built on Battle Creek Road. A slide show of construction photos is available.

1991: The Morrow Branch was built on Maddox Road.

1998: A new Riverdale Branch was built on Valley Hill Road.

2005: The Lovejoy Branch was built on McDonough Road.

2012: A new Forest Park Branch was built on West Street. A blog of the design and construction process is available.

2021: The Northwest Branch was built on Riverdale Road.

The Clayton County Friends of the Library group began in June 1950 due to the efforts of the Jonesboro Women’s Club and the Clayton County Library Board. Interest dwindled, but in the 1980s, the Friends reorganized and has been a thriving and beneficial part of the library ever since.

Learn more about the Clayton County Library System!

Mission Statement

To contribute to the success of the citizens of our diverse community by offering a full range of library services that meet their informational, educational and leisure interests, fostering the love of reading in our youth and the lifelong pursuit of knowledge for all.