Library service in Carroll County began in 1863, when the Westminster Public Library was founded by Reverend J. A. Monroe and Dr. Charles Billingslea. The library was supported by membership dues and fines, and was open to the public on Friday afternoons. Relocating over the years from the Odd Fellows Hall to the new Times Building and then to the second floor of the Wantz Building, Westminster Public Library was still a one-room library in the 1940s.
In 1949, Mr. and Mrs. Walter H. Davis announced that they would give a public library building to Westminster and provide an endowment for its support. At that time, the Westminster Public Library turned over its operation and assets to the Davis Library. The Davis Library, housed in a former Methodist church building, was formally dedicated as a library in May, 1951.
In 1958, after ten years of lobbying, a county-wide library system was established, with the Davis Library operating as the central branch. Carroll County's first modern library facility, the Westminster Branch, opened at 50 E. Main Street in March, 1980.
The Hampstead Library was established in 1955, through the efforts of the Junior Woman's Club of Hampstead. The club won a Federation Prize for its library project. With the establishment of a county system in 1958, the Hampstead Library became the Northeast Branch of the Carroll County Public Library. The present North Carroll Branch, located between Hampstead and Manchester, opened as a full-service branch in February, 1990.
The 2011 renovation to the branch included improvements to the interior and a reworking of the parking lot entrance to alleviate unsafe conditions.
In 1965, the Carroll County Commissioners gave the town of Mt. Airy permission to open a community library, with the provision that the town raise $3,000 to refurbish and furnish a room above the town office. Four months later, after donations and fund-raising events such as a benefit shoot at the Rod and Gun Club, a dance for teens, and a book sale, the library opened. In 1974 the Mt. Airy Community Branch moved to the former American Grocery Building, and in 1993 a new full-service Mount Airy Branch opened on Ridge Avenue.
Renovations to the Mt. Airy Branch were completed in 2014 and included repavement of the driveway, reworking of the sidewalks to improve grade and accessibility, roofing replacement, renovation of the interior to improve lighting throughout, a new customer service desk, improved seating areas for customers, and the addition of several collabortive workspaces.
Library service to the South Carroll area was first provided by a 2,100 square foot branch which opened in 1968 in the Eldersburg Improvement Association Building. Growth in the South Carroll area fostered strong community support for an improved library facility.
The Eldersburg Branch opened as a full-service library on August 14, 1983, at first sharing the new South Carroll Multi-purpose building with the Carroll County Health Department and the Maryland State Police. In 1998, the library expanded into the vacated Health Department space. The branch was renovated in 2004 and again in 2010. The 2010 renovation included the addition of a drive-up service window. With the Carroll County Sheriff's move to another space in 2015, the Library took over all available space in the building, for a total square footage of 23,882
The Taneytown Community Library opened as a branch of the Carroll County Public Library on January 9, 1969 in a storefront building on Baltimore Street. Ground was broken for a full-service branch on April 18, 1988. The Taneytown Branch at 10 Grand Drive opened to the public in February, 1989.
The 2008 renovation to the branch included a 5,000 square foot expansion and interior improvements
Library service to the Finksburg area began on January 28, 2009, with the opening of a 13,805 square foot branch. The Finksburg Planning and Citizens' Council played an integral role in helping the Finksburg Branch become a reality. This library was the first Green building in Carroll County. Some of the green features included: geothermal wells, a storm water management system, and recyclable & recycled materials.
1863 - Westminster Public Library, a membership organization, was founded
1949 - The Davis Library was established through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Walter H. Davis
1952 - Annual circulation: 28,183
1955 - Hampstead Library was founded by the Junior Woman's Club
1958 - Carroll County Public Library, a countywide library system was established Bookmobile service was instituted
1959 - Annual circulation: 88,390
1961 - First story hour was held at Davis Library
1961 - 190 children participated in Davis Library's summer reading program
1965 - Mount Airy Community Library opened
1968 - Eldersburg Community Library opened
1969 - Taneytown Community Library opened
1971 - Life Enrichment (now Library Link) established to serve older adults
1979 - Circulation system was automated through a partnership with Baltimore County Public Library
1980 - Westminster Branch opened as a full-service library branch
1980 - Systemwide circulation: 504,582
1983 - Eldersburg Branch opened as a full-service library branch
1985 - Systemwide circulation passed 1,000,000 in June, 1985
1985 - Service to the Carroll County Detention Center was established
1989 - Taneytown Branch opened as a full-service library branch
1990 - North Carroll opened as a full-service library branch
1992 - 3,472 children participated in CCPL's summer reading program
1993 - Mt. Airy Branch opened as a full-service library branch
1994 - CCPL began offering Internet access through Sailor
1995 - Carroll County Public Library became the first Internet service provider in Carroll County
1999 - Systemwide circulation: 2,972,224
2000 - 11,529 children and teens participated in CCPL's summer reading program
2001 - System-wide circulation exceeded 3 million items: 3,044,266
2004 - Eldersburg renovations completed.
2008 - Library Headquarters relocated to New Windsor
2008 - Taneytown renovations completed
2009 - Finksburg Branch opened on January 28
2010 – Major renovation of Westminster Branch completed
2010 - Mary Lou Dewey Park at the Westminster Branch dedicated
2010 - Eldersburg Branch renovations completed
2012 - Systemwide circulation exceeded 4.4 million
2012 - 10,332 children and teens participated in CCPL's summer reading program
2014 - Mount Airy renovations completed
2020 - Construction begins on Exploration Commons at 50 East