A library association was formed in the Fayette County town of Oelwein in 1909, with $1.00 memberships required to join. The fee was dropped in 1911, with a free public library group formed and ownership given to the city. The library’s first location was within the second floor of the town’s city hall, open six days a week, four hours each day. The first librarian was paid a salary of $30 per month.
The pictured, permanent library building was constructed in 1929 at a cost of $40,000, designed by Raymond F. Moore, a Cedar Rapids-based architect. The brick building was significantly remodeled in 1967, with the addition of a new balcony, office, circulation desk, carpet and book shelves. The facility housed the library until July 2006, when a new, $2.6-million library opened its doors.