Auburn, the historic mining town at the confluence of the north and middle forks of the American River, is now a major stop where Interstate 80 crosses the historic Sierra foothills Highway 49. At the top of "Almond Heights," the small, temple style Classical Revival old Carnegie library is the only non-residential structure in its neighborhood, a pale gray-pink brick building with rose and brown trim. Almond Street rises uphill from East Placer which runs between Pine and High streets.
Auburn was among the several mountain communities to benefit from an Odd Fellows library in the late 1860s, but it was the 1888 "The Little Gem Cook Book," compiled by the Ladies Library Association, also known as the Endeavor Club, that brought the public library to reality. The Crescent Club, an athletic club, also contributed their books. Even after coming under city auspices in 1906, the library occupied a succession of locations. Carnegie funding of $10,000 was granted in 1907. Architect Allen Fellows designed the building on the steeply sloping site purchased for $400 after considerable debate. The basement, opening to the rear, has housed the Women's Improvement Club, City Council meetings, children's library, and activity room. For a time both city and county libraries occupied the building, and now both occupy a new city/county library across the freeway, with a copy of "The Little Gem Cook Book" in their collection.