Locations Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library

Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library

Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library
1505 Nebraska Ave.
Tampa, Florida 33602-2849

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Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library


The Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library has the technology common to all locations, several meeting spaces, and Adobe Creative Cloud software.

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This location provides Internet access through library computers and Wi-Fi connectivity. Public meeting space is available and after-hours book drops are located at both the front of the building, and in the parking lot. The branch is located just north of the historic Union Train Station near downtown Tampa.

This library contains many museum quality exhibits, including displays on the Civil Rights movement and the NAACP located in the lobby. The History of Central Avenue hallway features interactive touch panels, with both audio and visual elements.

The Children's area features a touch-screen display panel and a collaborative touch-screen table.

Community Support

The Saunders Library receives support from the Ada T. Payne Friends of the Urban Libraries, active supporters and advocates for the library. Proceeds from their fundraising efforts directly benefit this branch, the West Tampa Branch Library and the C. Blythe Andrews, Jr. Public Library. Bookstores run by the Friends are located in all three locations.

The Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Library Foundation raises funds that support educational, African American research and cultural activities at the Saunders Library and within the Tampa community.


The original library opened in 1933 and was named the Ybor City Branch Library. Its home was a storefront facility at 1729 East Broadway donated by the local Italian American Club. The new building at 1505 North Nebraska Avenue was dedicated in January of 1969. On November 5, 2003, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners voted to rename the Ybor City Branch Library to honor Robert W. Saunders, Sr., civil rights activist and former NAACP Field Director.

Public Library Art

Symbols of Mankind by Joe Testa-Secca

This mural, located on the front of the building, was created for the entryway fa├žade of the Ybor City Branch Library in 1969. The mural is more than 7 feet tall and 40 feet wide, and is made with stone and ceramic designs rich in the symbols of many cultures. The mural was preserved from the old building and in 2015, was reattached to the new library.

An Unbroken Thread by Nancy Gutkin Oneil

The glass art installation, located in the entrance tower, features flora and fauna elements, adapted textile patterns from Bahamas and West Africa, local artifacts found at an archaeological dig at Perry Harvey, Sr. Park, photos of community significance, and other historic and contemporary material, including the 1915 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Tampa.

Champions of Change by Princess Smith

This oil finger painting on canvas, located at the top of the stairs, features a selection of influential Hillsborough County civil rights activists including: Dr. Bernard Lafayette Jr., Attorney Francisco Rodriquez, Senator Arthenia Joyner, Ellen H. Green, Rev. Dr. A. Leon Lowry, Helen Saunders, Clarence Fort, and Mary Alice Dorsett.

A bronze bust of Mr. Saunders by artist Brian R. Owens is on display in the lobby.