Dallas Hanbury uses case studies of the Atlanta, Nashville, and Birmingham public libraries (APL, NPL, and BPL, respectively) to recount the genesis, evolution, and integration of southern public libraries in the contexts of New South (1865‒1920) and Progressive Era (1897‒1920) agendas and local societal histories. [Hanbury] employs his research interests in African American history, local government records, and institutional histories to present a meticulously researched comparative study of the intersection of public libraries and race as evidenced in the library systems of three distinct urban environments.... Hanbury’s treatise, the only book-length treatment of southern libraries in an exclusively New South and Progressive Era comparative context, makes three significant contributions to the professional literature on southern public libraries and their integration. By investigating the exclusion of Blacks from the APL, NPL, and BPL and the ways in which each institution integrated, the book enables the study of complications ensuing from attempts to rectify a segregated past. It also shows how the contested spaces of the APL, NPL, and BPL illustrate the institutionalization of segregation. Finally, this study demonstrates that race as an important historical, as well as social, construct is a critical element of historical change and public history. Well structured, cogently argued, and written in an engaging and accessible style, this book would appeal not only to audiences of librarians, library historians, and social science and history scholars, but also to general readers.