The Erie Public Library at 17 South Park Row was dedicated February 16, 1899. Prior to its opening, the Board of Library Trustees made a public plea to the citizens of Erie, Pennsylvania.
"Erie, Pa., June 17, 1898.
The board of trustees of the public library desire to call your attention, and the fact that the new library building is fast approaching completion, and will soon be ready for the inspection of the public. Due notice of the opening will be given through the newspapers, when yourself and friends are cordially invited to visit the structure.
The means at the disposal of the board for the first year will not allow them to purchase more than eight to ten thousand volumes, but they are strong in the hope that the gifts of our liberal-minded citizens, who have never failed to respond in the right spirit to any worthy public enterprise, will increase this number, so that the library may be opened with fifteen or twenty thousand volumes.
To this end, they solicit donations of Books, Magazines (bound or unbound), maps, charts, prints, newspapers, newspaper files and publications generally that may be of use to any class of readers.
An important feature of the library will be the children's room, for which literary matter that is calculated to please and improve the little ones will be especially acceptable.
In addition to the rooms for library purposes, spacious quarters have been set apart in the building for an art gallery, a scientific, mechanical and historical museum, and a collection of maps, plots, letters, legal papers, etc., relating to the settlement and growth of the city, county and northwestern portion of the state.
No public fund has been made applicable by the law for the last stated objects, and it will be necessary, in order to carry out the plans of the board, to rely solely upon the good will and generosity of the citizens. Many persons are the owners of some valuable article, or collection of articles, which may be lost or destroyed in the course of time, and which they are anxious to have preserved for the benefit of those who are to come after them. All such can be safely deposited in the library building, with an assurance that they will be properly and permanently cared for.
Further information may be had from the several members of the board, and contributions for either of the purposes mentioned may be sent to the library building at any time in care of Mr. Chas. E. Wright, Librarian.
George P. Colt
J. F. Downing
M. C. Dunigan
L. M. Little
John W. Little
H. C. Missimer
Board of Library Trustees"
-published in the Erie Journal, June 17, 1898.
Here is an article about the rules of the library in 1899: http://oldtimeerie.blogspot.com/2012/06/two-books-for-you-erie-public-library.html