Did you know there are various types of libraries? Here is a cute graphic from the Baynet Library:
That sums it up nicely.
According to Wikipedia: The year 1876 is key in the history of librarianship in the United States. The American Library Association was formed, as well as The American Library Journal, Melvil Dewey published his decimal-based system of classification, and the United States Bureau of Education published its report, "Public libraries in the United States of America; their history, condition, and management." During the post-Civil War years, there was a rise in the establishment of public libraries, a movement led chiefly by newly formed women's clubs. They contributed their own collections of books, conducted lengthy fund raising campaigns for buildings, and lobbied within their communities for financial support for libraries, as well as with legislatures and the Carnegie Library Endowment founded in the 20th century. They led the establishment of 75–80 percent of the libraries in communities across the country.
I have visited the Carnegie Library of Atlanta, nee The Young Men's Library Association, and now the Atlanta Fulton County Library. These arches form a square in downtown Atlanta, and are from the original Carnegie Library, as are known as the "Carnegie Education Pavilion".
According to the library historian on the 5th floor of the library, the remaining arches from the Carnegie Library reside in a landfill, waiting to be restored and used.
I can imagine that it was a beautiful building.
On a side note, Gone with the Wind author Margaret Mitchell's father was the president of The Young Men's Library Association. The reader doesn't fall far from the bookmobile!