Early in the year of 1915, the people of Francesville and Salem Township began making organized efforts to make a public library a reality in their community.
The Carnegie Corporation of New York had agreed to furnish nine thousand dollars to the Town of Francesville and the Township of Salem in Pulaski County, State of Indiana, jointly, to erect a FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY building, on condition that said Town of Francesville and said Township of Salem, shall pledge themselves by resolution of the Board of Trustees of said Town of Francesville and the Advisory Board of Said Township of Salem, to support a FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY, at a cost of not less than nine hundred dollars a year, and provide a suitable site for said building.
The Township Advisory Board and the Board of Town Trustees each made resolutions to accept the donation and pledged to comply with the requirements of the Carnegie Corporation of New York at a joint meeting on May 6, 1915. Formal organization of the library was made May 15, 1915; thus the beginning of our library.
Through donations and promotions by the citizens, funds with which to purchase a building site, were obtained. Three different locations were considered in selecting a building site; the northeast corner of the block at North Bill Street and East Yellow Street (where Mrs. R.J. Ives resided), the southeast corner of the block at East Montgomery Street and North Brooks Street (where the fire station and town hall now stand), and the southeast corner of the block at West Montgomery Street and North Monon Avenue (which was chosen as the ultimate site for the Library building).
The Town and Township purchased the lot for the building site, from Fred Kopka on June 10, 1915, for the sum of $600.00. A second, adjoining lot was purchased from Wallace Dodge, for the sum of $700.00, on July 24, 1916.
The two-story brick building was completed and dedicated on November 2, 1916, and was opened for circulation on November 4, 1916, with Miss Doris Petra, as librarian. Mrs. Rosella Hubbell was the first borrower, and Miss Ada Schumaker and Mrs. Bess A. Myers were also among the first borrowers.
During its first year of operation, the library had 285 borrowers and a collection of 625 books.