May Memorial Library

May Memorial Library
May Memorial Library

Headquarters, Alamance County Public Libraries
342 South Spring Street
Burlington, NC 27215
Telephone: 336-229-3588
Fax: 336-229-3592

Monday – Thursday: 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday: Closed
Where are we?

A Summary of May Memorial’s History

The first public library serving Burlington was located in Broad Street High School in the early 1920s. By 1937, the public library had moved to temporary quarters in a storefront located on Main Street. In 1938, industrialist W.H. May, Sr. and his two sons donated $15,000 towards the purchase of the old U.S. Post Office for use as a public library. This building was constructed in 1918 and stands at the corner of E. Davis and S. Spring Street.

May Memorial Library opened for business on June 2, 1938. At that time, only the main floor fronting on S. Spring St. was in use. In 1945, a Seth Thomas grandfather clock was donated to the library by Col. Eugene Holt, grandson of textile magnate E.M. Holt. It quickly became a much-beloved symbol of the library within the community. In 1955, the basement floor with an entrance on E. Davis Street was remodeled and opened to the public.

By the 1960s, Alamance and Chatham counties had signed a formal cooperation agreement to become the Central N.C. Regional Library with May Memorial Library as its headquarters. In 1981 a new library wing with approximately 4,600 square feet of additional space on the main floor was opened and the basement and second floor of the library were given over to staff work areas. In the late 1990s, local textile CEO Allen Gant, Jr. of Glen Raven, Inc. offered an adjacent building, the former Sears Department Store, to the City of Burlington to expand the public library. The original 1918 building and 1981 addition were linked as one wing with the 1950s Sears building as the other wing connected by a vaulted ceiling entryway and officially opened November 17, 2000.