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Founded in 1939, the Putnam County Library System consists of the Main Library in Cookeville, with branches in Baxter, Algood and Monterey, TN.

The primary role of the Putnam County Library System is to serve as a popular materials center. The library seeks to build a collection of popular items in a variety of formats, with adequate duplication of high-demand titles.

The library system's mission is to provide free services to all residents. Library materials reflect a broad diversity of format and opinion, assuring that individuals may select freely from a wide variety of items. Patron requests and records are kept confidential under state law.

Putnam County Library Buildings from 1923 - Present


Book Lovers Club Library
"Miss Laura's Rose Cottage" Book Lovers Club Library
Madison Street (no longer standing)
1923 - 1939
Clara Cox Epperson Library
Clara Cox Epperson Library
66 N. Dixie (no longer standing)
1943 -1951
Clara Cox Epperson Library 2
Clara Cox Epperson Library
442 E. Spring Street
1951 - 1973
(former city hospital, then county school offices)
Putnam County Main Library
Putnam County Main Library
50 E. Broad Street
1973 - Present

History of Putnam County Library

Without access to books, education was inevitably limited. Fortunately, the 1920's brought about the beginnings of libraries in Putnam County.

The Cookeville Book Lovers Club began a library which eventually evolved into the Putnam County Library. In November of 1923 Clara Cox Epperson suggested that the twelve regular members of the Book Lovers Club contribute $1.15 each to purchase books. The club voted to use these as the nucleus for a circulating library. Members checked out books from the home of Laura Copeland, (known as "Rose Cottage"), to borrowers at a cost to adults of one dollar a year.

The Book Lovers Club raised money to buy more books by sponsoring talent shows, lectures, and movies; hosting tea and bridge parties; selling books; and soliciting donations. By 1929 the library had more than a thousand volumes.

Once the collection numbered over three thousand volumes, James Cox provided room for the library in the Herald building on the square. The Book Lovers Club renamed the library for Clara Cox Epperson, who had died in 1937. In 1939 the Book Lovers Club consolidated their library with that of the Putnam County Board of Education to form the county's first publicly financed library.

- Excerpt from the book Putnam County, Tennessee, 1850-1970