Manitowoc has a rich library tradition. Around the Civil War several efforts were made to provide library services, but failed primarily due to lack of funding. During 1898 and 1899 the Clio Club, a women's literary group, raised $4,700 to establish a library supported by public taxation. Manitowoc's first public library opened on March 13, 1900 in rooms above the US Post Office. It was clear the new library was too small. Andrew Carnegie was solicited and on December 29, 1902 a response was received that $25,000 would be donated for a library if the city maintained the structure and supplied a suitable site.(Continued on other side)
The Carnegie Library on North Eighth Street opened on August 27, 1904 and served Manitowoc until after
(Continued from other side)World War II when several branch libraries were established. By the mid-1950s overcrowding forced the library board to consider building a new library.
In 1964 the library received a federal building grant. In November 1965 ground was broken after the Common Council approved the remaining funds. The Hamilton Street library opened on January 14, 1967.
For more than 30 years the Hamilton Street library served the needs of the community and the demands of changing technology. In the mid-1980s it became apparent the community was outgrowing the library.Following the completion of a successful capital campaign, the new Manitowoc Public Library opened its doors on September 2, 1998. The new library at 707 Quay Street, in historic downtown Manitowoc, is a beautiful addition to the legacy of library service in our community.