Richard B. Harrison Library1313 New Bern Ave, Raleigh, NC 27610
About Us : The Richard B. Harrison library is one of 11 community branch libraries in the Wake County Public Library System. Harrison is conveniently located at 1313 New Bern Ave., just five minutes east of downtown Raleigh. The recently renovated, 5,000-square-foot building houses more than 55,000 books for both adults and children. The Mollie Huston Lee Collection, named for the first African-American librarian in Wake County, is a major draw for researchers and those interested in African-American History. The Lee Collection is more than 8,000 volumes strong and is composed of both adult and juvenile fiction and nonfiction, serials, pamphlets and vertical file materials. It is the strong community presence, however, that really sets this branch apart. The diverse population is drawn to the collection, the large bank of computers and the programming that reflects the aspirations of the community. The Richard B. Harrison community auditorium is open to the public for meetings and not-for-profit gatherings of all kinds. On any given day groups as diverse as alumni organizations, songwriters, theater groups and community action organizations can be found gathering in this area. If crowds aren't your style, the Harrison Library also provides a quiet study room. The welcoming environment of the Richard B. Harrison Library is enjoyed by students and families alike. History : The original structure was a small storefront building that opened in 1935 with a collection of 890 books. The building was located on East Market Street in the heart of the black business community in Raleigh. The library was named for Canadian-born Richard Berry Harrison, a noted black actor and professor of drama at N.C. A&T College in Greensboro during the 1930s. Harrison was brought to national prominence for his role of "The Lawd" in the play "Green Pastures." With founder Mrs. Mollie Huston Lee's leadership and strong community support, the library grew, and in 1948 a building was purchased on South Blount Street, which provided more floor space and a separate room for children's programs. In 1966, with the merging of the Richard B. Harrison Library and the Wake County Public Library System, plans were begun for a new facility. In June 1967 the library moved to its current location on New Bern Avenue. The library was completely renovated in 1989.