The Morgan County Public Library began in 1906, when Andrew Carnegie donated $12,500 for the construction of the Martinsville Public Library. While his donation was sufficient to cover the expenses of a brick building to house the library, Martinsville city officials determined that limestone should be used in place of brick for the “Artesian City.” After selling bonds, city officials were able to generate the additional $2,400 required to construct the building with Bedford limestone.
Until 1971 the library served only the citizens of Martinsville and Washington Township, but in that year, the library merged with the Bookmobile service to become the Morgan County Contractual Library, serving all areas of the county except Brown Township (Mooresville). In 1976, the library changed names again, and became the Morgan County Public Library.
When it celebrated its “Grand Opening” in September of 1908, the library had a collection of 1,500 books. After achieving a $1.7 million expansion and renovation in 1990, the main library is now more than four times its original size and houses over 100,000 volumes, as well as a large selection of “talking” books on CD/cassette, DVD/VHS movies, an extensive genealogy collection, magazines and computers for public use.
In 1996, an extensive renovation project began, starting with necessary repairs to roofing, drainage, tuck-pointing and ventilation. Historic restoration continued from 2002-2004 with removing lead paint from the dome and replacing leaded glass, repainting the exterior trim with historic colors and returning the roof to clay tile. 2005 brought more improvements to the drainage system including water holding tanks & pumps and mold & mildew abatement. At this time, an extensive interior remodeling began which included ceramic tile in the basement, new carpeting in all public areas, wallpaper removal and repainting. An additional 19 space parking lot was also added at the corner of Columbus and Jefferson Streets.
The Morgan County Public Library currently provides library services at the Main Library in Martinsville and five branch locations located in the towns of Brooklyn, Eminence, Monrovia, Morgantown and Waverly. In 2009, the Library became part of the Evergreen Indiana consortium which allows patrons access to over 8 million items and over 100 libraries state-wide.
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