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Founded in 1939, the Putnam County Library System consists of the Main Library in Cookeville, with branches in Baxter, Algood and Monterey, TN.

The primary role of the Putnam County Library System is to serve as a popular materials center. The library seeks to build a collection of popular items in a variety of formats, with adequate duplication of high-demand titles.

 

Library Mission Statement

 

“The Putnam County Library System’s mission is to offer our community a transformative environment through the services, programs, and materials we provide. We strive for life-long learning in our patrons, starting with early childhood literacy and continuing on to meet their needs at every stage of life. We will present an inclusive materials collection with broad diversity in formats and opinions, corresponding to the broad diversity of our own community, and to protect our patrons’ freedom to enjoy these materials in their personal pursuits of entertainment, experience, and education.”

Putnam County Library Buildings from 1923 - Present

 

Book Lovers Club Library
"Miss Laura's Rose Cottage" Book Lovers Club Library
Madison Street (no longer standing)
1923 - 1939
Clara Cox Epperson Library
Clara Cox Epperson Library
66 N. Dixie (no longer standing)
1943 -1951
Clara Cox Epperson Library 2
Clara Cox Epperson Library
442 E. Spring Street
1951 - 1973
(former city hospital, then county school offices)
Putnam County Main Library
Putnam County Main Library
50 E. Broad Street
1973 - Present


History of Putnam County Library

Without access to books, education was inevitably limited. Fortunately, the 1920's brought about the beginnings of libraries in Putnam County.

The Cookeville Book Lovers Club began a library which eventually evolved into the Putnam County Library. In November of 1923 Clara Cox Epperson suggested that the twelve regular members of the Book Lovers Club contribute $1.15 each to purchase books. The club voted to use these as the nucleus for a circulating library. Members checked out books from the home of Laura Copeland, (known as "Rose Cottage"), to borrowers at a cost to adults of one dollar a year.

The Book Lovers Club raised money to buy more books by sponsoring talent shows, lectures, and movies; hosting tea and bridge parties; selling books; and soliciting donations. By 1929 the library had more than a thousand volumes.

Once the collection numbered over three thousand volumes, James Cox provided room for the library in the Herald building on the square. The Book Lovers Club renamed the library for Clara Cox Epperson, who had died in 1937. In 1939 the Book Lovers Club consolidated their library with that of the Putnam County Board of Education to form the county's first publicly financed library.

- Excerpt from the book Putnam County, Tennessee, 1850-1970