Morley Library shall be a community resource, available to all, contributing to the quality of life in its service area by:
- Providing information for life-long learning and recreation in an organized, professional manner;
- Extending outreach to encourage Library use;
- Serving as a focal point for the community.
Morley Library was founded in 1899 and serves as the County District Library for Lake County. Our immediate service area consists of Concord Township, Village of Grand River, LeRoy Township, and Painesville City and Township. We are a medium-sized public library, supported by state funds and a local levy, providing access for all to opportunities and resources for life-long learning and recreation both within our walls and beyond. In 2016, we served over 260,000 visitors to our building and 72,000 visitors to www.morleylibrary.org, and patrons borrowed over 526,000 items from our collections.
The nucleus of the library was provided by the local Women's Christian Temperance Union, which established a temperance library and reading room in 1878. After librarian Mary Dean's death in 1898, friends set about fulfilling her dream of a free public library. Other groups donated more books, the Village of Painesville (which became a city in 1902) agreed to provide tax funds, and local businessman Jesse Healy Morley bought the land and erected the building. The library was named in honor of his parents. Morley Library opened its doors in October 1899, with Julia Erwin as librarian. Additions to the building were made in 1937 and 1978.
In November 2001, Morley Library's bond issue of $11.59 million was passed in a general election. A groundbreaking ceremony on May 14, 2003 marked the official start to construction of a new building—a three-story library designed by Meehan Architects of Cleveland, Ohio (now Holzheimer Bolek + Meehan). The original building closed to the public at 5:00 PM on Sunday, October 17, 2004. The new Morley Library building opened to the public on November 7, 2004, with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The building was officially dedicated on Sunday, February 13, 2005. It is 61,000 square feet.