Early in 1908, three main literary societies of Mount Gilead held a meeting to consider starting a public library. The name, Mount Gilead Free Public Library Association was adopted. Mrs. Benjamin Olds was elected the first president and Mrs. Richard Schaaf was elected treasurer.
The library was located in the Business Men's League room which was rent free. The location of this room was in the building which now houses the First Knox Bank. The three groups that first organized the library held their meetings in the assembly room over the library.
Donations were sought from the local community. Many citizens contributed generously. The library was open on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons from two until five and in the evenings from seven until nine. Mrs. Emma Wieland and Miss Mabel Lewis were librarians for some time, with Eva Gardner being the next librarian.
In 1912, Mrs. Mary Eccles gave the library a gift of $3,000 toward a permanent library location. The only stipulation was the property had to be purchased within four months. The current library annex at 35 E. High Street was purchased for $3,000 with $200 going toward renovation of the building.
The remodeling of the library included opening up the upper floor, making one large room. This was used by the sponsoring clubs to hold their meetings.
The downstairs was also opened up to make one large room. Oak pillars were used to separate the desk from the main part. Bathrooms were added in basement to complete the renovation. The building opened to the public in July of 1913.
As the years passed, it became obvious that the library had outgrown the building. In 1979 a levy was passed to raise $165,000 to add an addition to the present facility. Ground breaking took place in March 1980 and the addition was completed by the end of the year.
Only seven years later, the addition could no longer handle the libraries needs. In 1987 the telephone office (where 911 is located today) was leased for the children's department. Three years later the two properties east of the library came up for sale. Both had houses on them at the time. One was torn down and used as a parking lot while the other was made into the new children's department and genealogy in 1990. Later in the 1990's two other parcels were purchased to complete the land needed to build our current facility.
In 1998, the voters approved a 0.8 mil bond issue allowing for the building of our current facility. The children's library was moved yet again to the meeting room so that the little brick house could be torn down along with another house. In June 2000, the new facility was opened to the public. The library annex is now used for the genealogy department.