The public library in Enid was founded in 1899 by the Enid Study Club with a reading room at 120 North Independence. This group of civic-minded ladies worked very diligently at raising money to fund the library, with projects including a lyceum course, a Scandinavian quartette, and a minstrel show with a parade around the square. The Study Club offered the library to the City of Enid more than once, and in 1905 the city accepted the responsibility and moved the facility to North Grand. In 1907, the library was named a Federal Depository Library for government documents, which continues to the present day.
The need for a new library building encouraged city leaders to seek a grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation. In 1908 a grant of $25,000 was accepted and the site at 402 North Independence was purchased. The Enid Carnegie Library officially opened August 1, 1910. In the 1920s and 30s, the library struggled with funding and building repairs. In 1938, Mrs. Amy Carl organized a Friends of the Library group, which helped contribute materials and funds to the struggling library.
The 1940s and 50s continued to be lean years for the library, with appropriation cuts from the city government and a rapidly deteriorating building. Despite these challenges, circulation and other services continued to grow, including a children’s story hour, Great Books discussion groups, and a regular newspaper column. In 1957, a bond issue was defeated by 700 votes that would have provided for a new building. By this time, the building was widely considered unsafe and had been condemned by the State Fire Marshall.
In 1959, the Enid Public Library and the Garfield County library merged, becoming the Public Library of Enid and Garfield County. Another bond issue was brought before the voters in 1963, this time backed by the Chamber of Commerce and a very active group of local supporters. The bond was passed by a two-to-one margin, and the County Commission offered the land for the building which was the site of the former post office. The new library was dedicated on October 18, 1964.
Throughout the 1970s and 80s, the library continued to serve Enid and Garfield County with programs, collections, and other services. In the 1990s, technology came to the forefront, with automation of the library catalog and the circulation process in 1994 and public access to the internet added in 1997. Throughout this period, the library’s collection and services grew at a steady pace while the “new” building experienced the usual growing pains, including the difficulties with heating and air conditioning, the settling of the foundation, and the roof.
In October 2007, while repairs were being made to the roof, a severe storm broke through and created a major indoor disaster in the library, flooding both floors on the east side of the building and ruining hundreds of books and other library furnishings. In the process of examining and repairing the damage, asbestos was found and had to be abated. The library temporarily opened a branch in the Oakwood Mall, named the Cora Case Porter Branch, in order to continue serving the community. The main library reopened in March 2008, and the mall branch closed in May of this same year.
In 2009, the library received a grant from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries to complete a "makeover" of the library interior, to attract and retain new patrons and to modernize the facility. The bricks in the entry flooring were removed and vinyl tiles installed. The walls received more colorful paint and comfortable seating was purchased as well. In December 2010, the library hosted a reception and ribbon cutting celebrating the completion of the makeover project.
Future improvements include updating the children's and teen areas, analyzing the collection, working on new and improved landscaping, and doing more outreach into the community.