The first effort to raise funds to establish a library in Liberty was made by school teachers in 1887. It was unsuccessful. In 1888, a lady visitor to the county offered to establish a 100-book library on the condition that it would be located in the public school building so the books would be available to pupils as well as adults in the county. Books were purchased and the library was established.
Adult patrons, however, were disappointed in the selection of books and soon lost interest in the collection. At that time, the school board decided to appropriate a small amount of money to increase and vary the book collection. This procedure was followed each year and by 1900 the library owned 725 volumes.
The Society of Alumni of Liberty Schools was organized in 1902 and presented the library with a cash donation for the purchase of books. By 1905, the book stock was increased to 1,005 volumes. Most books were for the use of students but included many books of interest to the general public.
When book funds could no longer be appropriated by the school board, members of the Alumni Society, Clytie Club and Criterion Club held a “Tag Day” on February 12, 1909 to collect books and cash donations from the public. Through this effort, 150 books and $147.50 in cash were donated to the library. The money was turned over to a committee that included Miss Laura Hill, Mr. A.A. Graham and superintendent of Schools, Thomas W. Record. Books purchased and donated raised the book stock to 1,700 volumes.
In June 1913, the library was removed from the public school building and transferred to the new Stanley Memorial Building, better known as the Coliseum, and it was named a public library. The county judge, the school board, and the Town Council appointed a board of library trustees to oversee the operation of the library. The trustees appointed were: Miss Ethel Coleman, Miss Laura Hill, Dr. E.R. Beard, Dr. Garrett Pigman, Mr. O.L. Stivers, Mr. L.E. Fosdick, and Miss Esther Hamilton wasemployed as the first librarian.
After being moved to the Stanley Memorial Building, the library received many gifts of books and magazines from the public. Many social events and fund- raising programs were presented to support the library. By 1915, a record number of 2,270 volumes were owned and the library boasted 811 subscribers.
A movement to establish a public library building was made by Liberty residents by a funding request to the Carnegie Corporation of New York. After some time, a grant of $10,000 was awarded for the erection of a free public library building in Liberty. The Carnegie Award was given with the stipulation that citizens of Liberty provide the building lot so the entire $10,000 grant could be used for the building. Twelve men canvassed the county and collected the $1,500 required to purchase a lot on the corner of Seminary and Market Streets, the present location of the library.
Ground was broken on May 17, 1915 and the cornerstone for the new building was laid on June 19, at 2 P.M. under Masonic auspices.
A State Library Law enacted in 1917, made it possible for public libraries to be supported by local taxes and the commissioners of Union County levied a tax to make service available to the whole county.
By 1920, the library had 12 stations located throughout the county which were served by a book truck. When the 1930’s Depression struck, the stations were cut to three due to the lack of operating funds for staffing. Hardships were also imposed when the library was faced with the restrictions and shortages of World War II.
Until the early l960s, library service remained at a constant level. Then concept of Indiana libraries underwent a radical change. The Indiana Library Association, the Indiana Library Trustee Association, the State Library, and the Graduate Library School at Indiana University shared in the responsibility for many improvements and changes in individual public libraries in the state
The Union County Public Library has become handicapped accessible and has doubled its size in the 21st century. We continue to serve our community proudly.