In 1895, Washoe County District Attorney, Frank H. Norcross, later a Chief Justice of the Nevada Supreme Court and a Federal Judge, began a drive to establish Nevada’s first free public library in Reno.  That year, he persuaded the Nevada Legislature to enact a law establishing Nevada’s public libraries.

The state’s first public library building was erected on this site in 1904, with $15,000 donated by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie on land originally donated to the City of Reno by pioneer Myron C. Lake.  It remained in service until 1930, when growth forced its relocation to the site where the Pioneer Theater Auditorium now stands.  The library was sold for $1 and demolished in 1931.

In 1966, the library was relocated to a new building at Center and Liberty Streets, three blocks south of this site.