The Jefferson County R.J. Bailar Public Library (JCPL) is a testament to the hard work and care of community leaders and citizens for over 100 years. Though the library has been housed in different locations, faced financial struggles, and even temporarily closed, Jeffersonians have been unflagging in their efforts to establish and grow a community library for all residents.
Today the County's continuing support of the library has paid dividends, attracting matching funds from the State of Florida and allowing the library to provide state-of-the-art services to Jefferson County in a friendly and peaceful setting.
1903 Jefferson County votes to prohibit alcohol sales part of the Prohibition movement. In an effort to create "a place of wholesome amusement and recreation," to replace the saloon and the pool hall, the Library Association of Monticello was formed.
1905 The first library opens in a storefront on US 90, under the direction of the Library Association of Monticello. Miss Bessie Turnbull is the librarian. The library closes in 1915.
1919 The Monticello Women's Club reestablishes the lending library in their building on N. Jefferson St.
1970 After the library's financial struggles and temporary closure, the library re-forms and reopens as a regional branch of the Leon County Library. Mrs. Verna Nistendirk is the librarian.
1982 The library becomes an independent service of Jefferson County, ending its status as a branch library.
1986 The library obtains its own building on Cherry St., in downtown Monticello.
2005 With the Old Library in decline, the library moves to the former high school media center on Water St. The modern building allows for a larger collection, computer lab, and reading space. Mrs. Linda Hamedani is the librarian.
2015 The library is renamed in honor of local philanthropist and advocate Mr. R.J. Bailar.