started with a dream...
The Poplar Bluff Municipal Library
District started as a dream. Mrs. M. C. Horton, president of the Poplar Bluff Bay View Reading
Club, held a meeting in her home in 1915 to discuss the possibility of a free public library to
serve Poplar Bluff and its citizens. A year later, a membership library opened in the basement
of the Criterion Theater staffed with 14 volunteers. Members paid $1 per year for access to this
This library proved so popular
that in 1917, a library mill tax was passed and Poplar Bluff had its first public library. After
beginning in the basement of the Criterion Theater, the library moved
locations several times before landing in its permanent home on Main Street. The building at 318
North Main Street was constructed in 1936 with federal and local monies for the purpose of
housing a free public library. The Missouri Library Association held its annual statewide
conference at the Poplar Bluff Library when it opened its doors in Oct., 1936. At the time, the
library was touted as being state of the art with electric lights and a one hundred seat
In 1998 and 2008, the library’s
home was expanded and renovated, respectively, doubling the size of the original 1936 building
and more than tripling the size of the 1967 Children’s Library.
In June of 2012, ninety-five years after the community first dedicated funding for the purpose
of a library, Poplar Bluff made its voice heard once again on the value it places on a
democratic society that has access to free and open information when they passed a quarter cent
sales tax to ensure the future of the Poplar Bluff Library. This revenue tripled the library’s
budget and provides greater access to the library’s services and collections for today’s and
It was only with the support, dedication and determination of passionate individuals and a
generous and caring community that this dream was realized.
We hope you
will join us in helping realize our dreams still to come.
Further reading on the history of the library:
More information about the library:
Events at the library
events and programs offered at the library in the quarterly events newsletter, Off the
View the Library
Basic Computer Class
Improve your computer skills, have fun and make new friends when you
attend a basic computer class at the library.