The historic Chidsey Library Building opened in 1941 as the city of Sarasota’s first public library. John and Ida Chidsey financed the building, designed by Thomas Reed Martin, at a cost of approximately $25,000. Sarasota’s Junior Chamber of Commerce contributed about $6000 in furniture, equipment, and other supplies.

After Sarasota outgrew the Chidsey Library and a new library, the Selby Library, was constructed on Sarasota Bay, the building became Sarasota County Historical Resources. Following the year of the four hurricanes – 2004 – the county moved Historical Resources away from the bay to higher ground at 6062 Porter Way in Sarasota. Historical Resources maintained permanent and rotating exhibits at the historic Chidsey Library building while Visit Sarasota utilized the front lobby. When Visit Sarasota decided to move to new locations, the Friends of the Sarasota County History Center, a non-profit support group of Historical Resources, saw an opportunity to operate the Chidsey Building as the Historical Exhibits and Education Center. While discussing the usage of the various rooms in the facility, the Friends’ Board thought it would be appropriate to use one room as a Florida research library, returning a part of the building to its origins.

The Florida Studies Room is part of the Sarasota County Libraries, which means the books located at the Historical Exhibits and Education Center have been processed through the county library system and their location can be found by accessing http://suncat.co.sarasota.fl.us/. The books can only be used on the premises for research.

You’re invited to stop by and take advantage of the resources available in the Florida Studies Room.