The Lakeland Public Library opened in January 1927 on the shores of Lake Morton. Prior to that time the Woman's Club, organized in 1912, maintained a library city residents could use. The city purchased land, formerly used as a campground for Spanish-American War soldiers, from Herbert Munn. There were three librarians from 1927 to 1929 when Serena C. Bailey began a thirty year career as Librarian. In 1955, to honor its former Mayor, Governor of Florida and U.S. Senator, the Library was renamed the Park Trammell Public Library. A new building was built in 1966 farther to the east on the lake on the property of the former Lake Morton Elementary School. This building was then enlarged in 1986 and renovated several times in subsequent years.
From 1934 to 1937 library service was provided for the black residents of Lakeland at Washington Park High School. In October 1937, a branch library was opened at North Virginia Ave. and was run by Elsie Dunbar. The branch occupied several other buildings until a new building opened on North Florida Avenue in 1995. Originally known as the Lakeland Branch Library, it was renamed the Larry R. Jackson Branch Library in 1998 to honor a man who had worked tirelessly for years to have a library built in north Lakeland.