A library board had been established as early as 1879. This first board consisted of R. H. Irwin, A. O. Baldwin, C. W. Crawford, William Spiers, Mrs. E. H. Hussey, Mrs. W. H. Zimmerman and Miss Mattie Mercer.
In 1901 Mrs. Crawford made a trip to New York to seek the gift of a library from Mr. Andrew Carnegie, but r. Carnegie was abroad and nothing could be done until his return. It was not until February 8, 1902 that a letter was received from the secretary of Mr. that enclosed a questionnaire. The information was forwarded and the grant was soon received.
The funds were deposited in the First National Bank of Brazil.
On April 14, 1902 a committee of six citizens were appointed to help the library board select a site for the new building. The present location was purchased from Mrs. Carter for $2400.00. On January 7, 1904 the board met in a special session and appointed Miss Agnes McCrea as its first librarian.
The beautiful building of Indiana limestone was formally dedicated on October 18, 1904. It is said to be the only library in the united states marked with the carved letters stating that it was donated by Andrew Carnegie.
In 1989 the library acquired 60% of the Maurer Wood Building to operate as a handicapped accessible annex of the main library building. This was made possible through the generosity of Dr. Robert Maurer and the Clay Civic Memorial Foundation.