In 1912, a group of local women gathered at the home of Mrs. J. L. McIntire and decided to form a library association.
According to the Flathead Courier of April 13, 1989, the women followed up by going house to house in Polson soliciting books for the new library. Fundraisers (dances, dinners, etc.) were also held. Mrs. D.J. Gillam offered the temporary use of the Gillam Loan Company office while her husband was away for the winter, and on December 23, 1912, the new library opened. It was open fifteen hours per week and was staffed by volunteers.
Donations from local citizens helped the library expand. In the fall of 1913, the Women’s Civic League took on the project and continued to support it over the next several years as it moved from one location to another. In 1919, Polson City Library was officially established by the city council with an authorized mill levy of $50 per month.
The Flathead Courier reports that over the next two decades, donations and memorials continued to help support the library. Major donors through the early years included A.F. Mason, Marcus Daly, the Rotary Club, Security State Bank, and many other generous residents. A library board and trustees were appointed, and in 1930, the Civic League asked the city council for a permanent location.
Soon after, Security State Bank completed construction of its new building and offered to sell the original bank building to house the library. The Civic League raised funds, and donors made up the rest of the down payment. Payments were completed in 1938 and the building was turned over to the city.
When the library outgrew this facility, it moved to a different location – one that had earlier housed a Safeway store and Dodge dealership. Finally, in 1989, following construction of a new building, the library moved into its current location at #2 First Avenue East, Polson.