Swisher County Library had it’s beginnings in 1921. In September of 1921, a committee appointed by the Tulia Civic League met to plan a subscription library. By April of 1922, fifty-six families had paid a year’s membership fee of $1.00 each. The library started out with a total of 100 books. Some of them came from money donated by local businessmen and others came from book donations from other citizens.
The library was located in a corner of the City Drug Store and was open 2 evenings a week by the ladies of the Civic League until Mrs. T.L. Brown was elected librarian. She served 3 days a week from 1922 through 1938 without compensation for eleven years. In 1923, the growing library was moved to a room in the basement of the courthouse. Mr. T.L. Brown built bookshelves for the more than 5,000 books and periodicals that had been acquired. In 1937, about 5,530 books had been catalogued. The number of readers was about 700. The library was moved to the second floor of the courthouse when they outgrew the first room. It remained there until 1941 when space was found on the west side of the first floor.
On July 12, 1940, the Civic League met with ten members present. Mrs. G.C. Hutchinson introduced the idea that a library board should be formed. The group approved and Mrs. Hutchinson was named president. A committee was named to draft a constitution and by-laws. In January of 1941, the board applied to WPA (Works Projects Administration) and was told that help was not available because the library was not free. A request was made to the commissioner’s court to assist the city in operating and maintaining the library, but no response was received. The board worked from 1941 until January 1, 1949 to make the library free. In June of 1948, the board again asked the commissioners court to take over the library. Judge Wallace announced that the city and commissioner court would assume responsibility and it would operate on a free basis starting January 1, 1949.
Mrs. Irene Brown Flynt had hoped the library could become a member of the Texas Panhandle Library System. This would require meeting new requirements. Her tenure as librarian came to an end in 1972 with her resignation due to illness. The next librarian, Mrs. Mickey, and the board, accomplished the task of helping the library become a member of the Texas Panhandle Library System in 1973. The library receives consultation services, materials, equipment and training from TPLS through Amarillo Public Library.
In 1977, the library was moved to its present location in the Swisher Memorial Building and was dedicated July 15, 1978. It now has 5,000 square feet.
The library became a member of Harrington Library Consortium in 1992. In 1993, automation of the library was begun. It was finished in 1999 with Mrs. Betty Hobgood as librarian. Mrs. Hobgood was responsible for helping to bring the library into the computer age. She wrote grants to get the first public access computers and worked with the Tocker Foundation to get the Tulia Herald digitized and hosted online for the years 1918-1962. As of 2016, the library houses approximately 12,000 books, 700 audio/visual and 7 public access computers.
Other librarians were:
- Mrs. T.L. Brown: 1922-1939
- Miss Winnie Mae Atkinson: 4/1939—6/1939
- Mrs. Louise Davis: 7/1939—8/1939
- Mrs. E.L. Garrison: 8/ 1939—9/1940
- Miss Thomasine Starnes: 1940—1941
- Mrs. Bill Williams: August 1941—1942
- Mrs. Ross Crocker: 1942—1947
- Mrs. Smith: 1953
- Mrs. E.W. Stith: 1954—1958
- Mrs. Irene Brown Flynt: 1958—1972
- Mrs. Gloria Mickey: 1972—1982
- Mrs. Jo Alice Garrett: 1978—1996
- Mrs. Betty Hobgood: 1996—11/2010
- Mrs. Terri McCasland: 12/2010—current