Tell City’s first library was organized in 1893 by a group of 30 residents, organized under the name of the Tell City Library Association. Each of the 30 residents donated $3.00 for the initial purchase of library books. The books were kept at Schreiber’s Drug Store and circulated to readers.
In 1905, Chris Newman, Superintendent of Tell City Schools, was instrumental in starting a City library and at that time, the public library system, with the School Board in charge, was begun. The City Council voted a tax which was to be saved until $900 was accumulated. The public library was then established, operating out of a room in City Hall, and the lending library in Schreiber’s Drug Store was discontinued.
As City Hall became used more and more 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, was opened to the public in 1917.
In 1967, the library doubled its size, opening a major addition facing Franklin Street, financed through Library and Services Construction Act grant and a sale of bonds. A gift from the L.R. Chapman estate in 1982 made possible remodeling of the 1917 Carnegie building and the addition of a public meeting room.
In 2002, the library, woefully short on room to maintain its enlarging collection and with the advent of public Internet access computers, re-located 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 of a Technology Lab for 15 computers, a Genealogy Department, Meeting Room, two Study Rooms, Children’s Department, Storytime 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 and began operating as the Perry County Public Library. 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. We also became a part of the Indiana State Library consortium of Evergreen Indiana, giving our patrons access to books and materials from more than 100 Indiana libraries.