On 29 March 1958 the Proserpine Municipal Library was first opened on Main Street. Before that a small library with a limited circulation was operated by the School of Arts under the patronage of the Proserpine Sugar Mill.
Miss P Banks of Ryde was appointed as Librarian on 17 January 1958 having been set the task of establishing the Municipal Library in an old wooden house which had been purchased, shifted to the rear of the new Council Chambers and renovated to house 1,200 miscellaneous books donated by the School of Arts and around 1,000 adult non-fiction books loaned from the Public Library of Brisbane.
On 2 December 1961 the Honorable E. Evans, M.L.A. (Minister for Development, Mines, Main Roads and Electricity) officially opened the Proserpine Shire Council Civic Centre together with a newly built library at the rear of the building.
The library’s current premises were opened by the Honorable R. Borbridge M.L.A (Premier of Queensland) on Thursday, 16 April 1998. The building was architecturally designed by Barry Elliss and built by Woollam Constructions, who received a Master Builder’s Construction Award for public and community facilities in 1999.
A major extension was added in August 2004 with a time capsule being buried under the concrete path leading to the side entrance of the library.
In 1865 the School of Arts was built including a library section known as the Reading Room. This was located at Herbert Street where the current library is now. Within a few years the library consisted of 600 books.
In 1876 the Reading Room was destroyed by a cyclone and unfortunately this set a pattern of things to come. A few years later in 1879 a second School of Arts was erected only to be destroyed by another cyclone in 1884. Not to be deterred by these natural disasters the School of Arts was again rebuilt in 1886.
During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the Reading Rooms were used extensively, and magazines were especially popular. Within a 40-year period the library increased its supply of books from approximately 2,500 books to 6,500 books.
On April’s Fool Day 1958 a tropical cyclone dealt its final blow to the School of Arts building. Since 1954, the Bowen Town Council had been making moves to take over the Bowen School of Arts and Library as a municipal activity. This was eventually achieved and agreed upon by all parties and the current library was built and officially opened by the Chairman of the Council on 14th October 1967.
The library went ahead in leaps and bounds especially with the introduction of computerised technology. In 1996, a Library Management System was introduced, and paper records were converted to computer. The next year saw internet services becoming available to the public.
In 2012 the library had over 22,000 items and the building had a facelift with the installation of new glass panels along the front of the building along with automatic door and book return chute.