A Carnegie Library

The Hartford City Public Library was started in 1903 thanks to local community members and an endowment from the Carnegie Foundation.

Today, we serve 3/4ths of the Blackford County community. Thanks to the cooperation of your Township Trustees, residents of Jackson, Licking, and Washington Townships may now apply for a library card to use our facilities as well as all Hartford City residents.

At the library you will find Wonderbooks (audio/physical book combination), board games, hot spots, and more — all for checkout! We also work hard to make sure you have access to the latest best sellers in book, audiobook, and electronic formats.

Behind the library is our new Nature Play Park, where kids can get away from technology and spend some time using their imaginations.

A Brief History of Hartford City Public Library

On March 12, 1902, the city accepted the proposal and appropriated $700 toward a building site for the library. in August, 1902, the lot at 314 North High street was purchased from Della and Ezra Stahl for $1800. J.L. Brown, a local architect, was engaged and an Anderson building firm was awarded the building contract. Home talent shows supplied extra funds as needed. The Cornerstone bearing the
legend,”Dedicated to the Memory of Andrew Carnegie, July 30, 1903,” was to be laid at 5 P.M. on Monday August 10, 1903. However, none of the dignitaries appeared for the ceremony. No explanation was ever offered for their absence. The stone was fitted in the building the next day by one lone board member and the workman.

Andrew_Carnegie_by_Francis_Luis_MoraA picture of Andrew Carnegie resides over the fireplace in our reading area.

The stained glass window above the entrance to the library was designed by Gurney Mattingly, a local art teacher, and installed in 1975.

Mattingly Stained GlassThe stained glass window over the front entrance.

By 1985, the library had magazines, newspapers, books on tape, records, movies, slides, art prints, books. The library had also purchased a microfilm reader printer for genealogy. However in 1985, the library had reached its capacity, and plans were made for an expansion. In 1988 a glass enclosed addition was added to the children’s department and the former children’s area became a public meeting room for the community.

Historic American Buildings Survey - IN-169

The original layout of the library.

By 1992 the library was totally wired for computers, a hard task in a 1903 Carnegie building that was not built for technology.

In 1997, through a generous donation from The Dwight & Dorothy Gadbury Estate the library was able to add an AV-audio-visual area on the third floor. In 2000 the Hartford city Public Library was able to purchase property behind the library for future expansion.

In 2003 The Hartford City Public Library celebrated its 100 year anniversary at the same location with community events the whole week
and a keynote address by Senator David Ford. A time capsule was also put together by the staff and community representing several items from
the library to be opened in 2053 at the 150 year celebration. Unlike, the 1903 dedication, our 100 year anniversary had almost the
whole community, all board members and staff celebrating our week long anniversary!

In 2007 The Hartford City Public Library applied and was granted monies for LCPF (Library Capital Projects Fund) for future building as the library again needs to expand. However, due to Hartford City’s shrinking population, in 2012 it was decided that this was not the right time for an expansion and the LCPF was closed.

In 2015 fiber optic internet was installed in the library, an important step in helping the library provide the internet services needed in a community where many people still do not have home internet or even home computers.