Olivia Raney Local History Library Reopens after Renovations

The Olivia Raney Local History Library, which has been closed to the public for renovations, will reopen on Monday, June 7.

The renovation project, which cost about $700,000, addressed many aging building systems including interior finishes, lighting and heating/air. The renovated spaces have a fresh look and bring added efficiencies to the facility for the coming years.

“We’re thrilled that Wake County residents will once again be able to visit the Olivia Raney Local History Library,” said Wake County Commissioner Dr. James West. “This library is a true gem, and it plays an important role in preserving and sharing the history of our county, our communities and our families.”

The 7,845-square-foot Olivia Raney Local History Library offers an extensive collection of materials and services to assist visitors conducting research into local history and genealogy, including:

  • The Reading Room, which offers a collection of books to assist patrons with historical and family history research.
  • The Research Room, which features an array of microfilm, newsletters, property tax records, city directories, biographies and military records. The newspaper collection goes back to 1799 and includes The Raleigh Times, The Raleigh News and Observer and numerous smaller newspapers.
  • The Archives, which contain books, original materials and notes related to the history of Raleigh and Wake County, as well as family histories, biographies, city directories and selective records and histories.
  • Galleries and Featured Displays, which honor Olivia Raney and her family. Portraits and photos are displayed in the gallery in the lobby, and furniture and artifacts from the original facility are found throughout the library. Visitors can also view photos from archival collections and rotating exhibits.
     

The Olivia Raney Local History Library opened at its current location in the Wake County Office Park in 1995. The original Olivia Raney Library opened in 1901 in downtown Raleigh and was the city's first public library. It was a gift to the people by Richard Beverly Raney, a successful businessman, in loving memory of his late wife.

The library remained open until 1962 and was later demolished. The library reopened at a different downtown location on Fayetteville Street a year later until closing in 1985.

Want to visit?
The Olivia Raney Local History Library is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m.–6 p.m., and Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m.–8 p.m. The library is located at 4016 Carya Drive in Raleigh.

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