The Carnegie Library was founded after a petition to the Carnegie Corporation was filed with the City Council on March 19, 1917. On May 21, 1917, the Andrew Carnegie Foundation notified the City Council that $12,500 would be allowed the City of Marceline for a library building, the city promising to maintain the library by levying a tax for that purpose.
December 3, 1917, a Library Board was appointed consisting of the following members: George Colville, Bert Oldham, Francis E. Bridwell, A. L. Kleine, W. E. Parks, J.E. Ellis, Mrs. Sig Steiner, Mrs. W.G. Lancaster, and Mrs. E. W. Taylor.
The first meeting of the Board was held at the City Hall December 11, 1917, and these officers elected: George Colville, president; Bert Oldham, treasurer, and Francis E. Bridwell, secretary. It was the task of this Board to select a site for the building, make arrangements with the Carnegie Foundation for the money, receive bids from architects and obtain the Carnegie Foundations’ approval for the plans.
In February, 1919, Edgar P. Madorie of Kansas City, Missouri was chosen architect for library and the rest of 1919 was devoted to getting building underway.
In August 1920, a book drive was made and 744 books were received. On November 1, 1920, the library was opened to the public with 1701 books ready for use. The number of volumes in the library have increased steadily through the years and the 1962 report showed a book stock of 14,377.
In spite of limited funds the Marceline Carnegie Library is considered outstanding among libraries in small communities. The service which Carnegie Library has offered the citizens of Marceline in the past forty-three years has been comparable to that given in many large communities.
1963 Library personnel: Olive McAllister, librarian; Mrs. Louis Dean, substitute librarian: Leigh Smith, student helper; John Watskey, janitor.
The 1963 Board members are: Mrs. James Flynn, president; Mrs. Willis Moore, vice president; Mrs. Herman Rodgers, secretary: Mrs. Sterling Hise, Mrs. Harry Boddy, Mrs. Edgar Myers, Mrs. John Henderson, Mrs. J. O. Haney, and Mrs. Clifford Houser.