1813 Tennessee General Assembly passed an act to incorporate the Nashville Library Company.
1823 General Assembly passed an amendment authorizing a lottery to raise $5,000 to purchase books for the Nashville Library Company.
1841 A second library, the Mechanics Library Association, was organized.
1844 Mechanics Library Association and the Nashville Library Company merged to form the Mechanics Institute and Library Association.
1855 YMCA was organized in Nashville and operated a small library at 35 College St., now Third Ave. The small library was closed during the Civil War.
1860 Mercantile Library Association organized. It passed from existence in 1863.
1867 YMCA Library reopened but soon closed again.
1871 Nashville Library Association was organized and established the Nashville Library, which has 4,000 volumes.
1875 YMCA assumed management of the Nashville Library, which was open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and from 3 to 6 p.m. Sundays. Reading rooms were open to every young man. Circulation was restricted to YMCA members.
1887 Howard Library, located in the old Watkins Institute Building, opened. Memucan Hunt Howard left $15,000 for its establishment.
1888 Nashville Library moved to 327 Church Street.
1894 Nashville Library destroyed by fire.
1897 General Assembly passed Library Law which authorized cities of 20,000 or more to establish and maintain free public libraries and reading rooms. Before that time, city governments had no authority to use tax money to support libraries.
1898 City of Nashville, acting under the provisions of the Library Law, appropriated $2,500 for the Howard Library.
1899 Howard Library, a reference library since its origin, began circulating books. A readers card cost $2.
1901 Citys appropriation to the Howard Library was increased to $5,000. The readers card fee was abolished, making Howard Library the first free circulating library in Nashville.