On 10 December 1916, a library board was established. In April 1917, the Carnegie Corporation offered the $5,000 donation if a deed for the ground could be presented and a tax for the upkeep of the building could be assured. Land for the building, secured from Dr. William Kelsey, was probably a donation, though the recorded deed states that it was purchased for $250.00. The Monterey-Tippecanoe Carnegie Public Library was the smallest unit to have received a grant for a library building from the Carnegie Foundation.
Sealed bids for the building were received 17 August 1917. The contract was awarded to Master Brothers, of Monterey, the lowest bidders. The Carnegie Grant proved not to be sufficient to cover all costs, so the community raised the remaining sum by subscription.
The Library Board accepted applications for the position of librarian at the October-1918 meeting, and Mrs. Lena Collins was hired at a salary of $30 per month. The library’s opening date was set for 16 October 1918. The Library’s collection began with one book, The Rose of St. Louis.
The Town of Monterey and Tippecanoe Township united into one taxing unit in support of the library in September 1953. Improvements in that decade included modernization of the electric wiring, new lights, water system, septic tank, rest rooms and a railing on the front steps. Many of these had been omitted from the original plans to cut costs. In 1974, renovations included a new front entrance, including doors, steps, handrails, and sidewalks, and a new restroom fashioned from the existing two small ones. The 1980s saw further growth, including improved landscaping and new heating and cooling systems.
On 14 April 1998, ground was broken for a $780,000 expansion project. A 3,280 square foot addition was constructed on the south side of the original Carnegie structure, more than doubling the facility’s size. A parking lot, new ground floor entrance, elevator, two new accessible restrooms, and program room were all part of the project. New shelving and seating were also added. This project was made possible through the combined use of State and Federal funding sources. The Town of Monterey, on behalf of the Library, was awarded a $375,000 Department of Commerce Community Focus Fund Grant, and the Library received a $47,000 grant and a long-term low-interest loan of $358,000 from United State Department of Agricultural Rural Development.
6260 East Main Street
P.O. Box 38
Monterey, Indiana 46960