Tell City’s first library was organized in 1893 by a group of 30 residents, under the name of the Tell City Library Association. Each of the 30 residents donated $3 to buy library books. The books were kept at Schreiber’s Drug Store and circulated to readers.
In the early 20th century, Superintendent of Tell City Schools Chris Newman was instrumental in starting a city library. With the School Board in charge, the public library system was launched in 1905. The City Council approved a tax that could save up to $900 for the library. The newly established public library would operate out of a room in City Hall. The lending library in Schreiber’s Drug Store was discontinued.
As City Hall became used for other purposes, the atmosphere became less conducive to quiet reading and study, and the need for a separate building became apparent. In 1916, the School Board secured a $10,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation for a library building, with the city agreeing to furnish the site. The Tell City Public Library, at the corner of 9th and Franklin Streets, opened in 1917.
In 1967, the library doubled its size, opening a major addition facing Franklin Street, financed through a Library and Services Construction Act grant and a sale of bonds. A gift from the L.R. Chapman estate in 1982 made the remodeling of the 1917 Carnegie building and the addition of a public meeting room possible.
In 2002, the library, woefully short on room to maintain its enlarging collection and with the advent of public Internet access computers, relocated to 2328 Tell Street. With a donation of property from Mr. and Mrs. Guy Neil Ramsey, many corporate and private donations, Build Indiana Funds, and the sale of bonds, a new and modernized building was achieved. The new building boasts a technology lab for 15 computers, a genealogy department, meeting room, two study rooms, children’s department, story time room, garage and storage for Perry County Bookmobile and many numerous facilities for the public.
Since the early 1960s, the Perry County Bookmobile has made its headquarters at Tell City Public Library, serving schools and rural residents of Perry County and, through contract, northern Spencer County. When this contract expired in December 1996, the Perry County Contractual Library merged into the Tell City Public Library, forming the Tell City-Perry County Public Library.
In January 2012, the Tell City-Perry County Public Library merged with the Cannelton Library District. Both libraries are now able to offer multiple services to the whole community of Perry County, including computer labs, wifi, children’s story times and meeting rooms. The newly merged library system also became a part of the Indiana State Library consortium of Evergreen Indiana, giving patrons access to books and materials from more than 100 Indiana libraries. With the new merger, we were renamed the Perry County Public Library.
Perry County Public Library provides all members of the community with access to books and other resources and services for education, information, and recreation. Library services are available to all, regardless of race, creed, occupation, or financial position. We place special consideration on programs that benefit youth, encourage continuing education, conduct literacy programs for adults, provide access to technology, and promote interest in local history and genealogy. We also provide bookmobile service to rural residents of Perry County and any neighboring county or counties through contract.