In December of 1891, several prominent citizens joined together to secure a public library. Alfred Smiley, one of Redlands' winter residents from the East, became a prime mover in the crusade. After two years of effort, prodding the city trustees, and with detailed studies completed, a vote brought forth a public library in Redlands. Dedicated on February 22, 1894, public acceptance of the REDLANDS PUBLIC LIBRARY was enthusiastic.
The library was located in the Y.M.C.A. building, but soon after it began to operate, the need for a larger and permanent headquarters became apparent. Throughout 1896, Alfred Smiley discussed future library plans with his twin brother Albert K. Smiley. Alfred's desire for a library building coincided with Albert's wish to provide a downtown park for the enjoyment of Redlands citizens. By March of 1897, Albert K. Smiley had purchased sixteen acres of downtown land to build Redlands its new library building.
The A.K. SMILEY PUBLIC LIBRARY and surrounding Smiley Park, so named by a grateful city council in honor of the donor, was dedicated on April 29, 1898. In order to complete his personal philanthropy, Albert Smiley had to borrow $40,000. In all, the library and park cost him over $60,000.
A.K.Smiley Public Library is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media