On July 10, 1934, in the middle of the Great Depression, a small library committee met in the East Ward School Library on Union Street under the leadership of Mrs. George Butz. Using the slogan "A Book from Every Home ", the group collected 800 volumes from townspeople to start the library. With a supply kit furnished by the state government under the Educational Emergency Relief Act, and $20 worth of additional materials, the citizens prepared the books for circulation.

On July 30, 1934 the first official meeting of the newly formed Schuylkill Haven Free Library Association was held in the high school auditorium. Mrs. Butz was elected as president, Mr. Paul Christman as vice president, Mrs. Norman Neuin as secretary; and Mr. Harry Reber as treasurer.

On August 31, 1934, the library facility in the East Ward School held an open house following a parade led by the high school band. "Tea and wafers" were served at an expense of $1.57. Starting with $7.10 worth of donations and dues in the treasury, the library circulated 1473 books during the first month of operation. After the first year more than 21,300 items had been borrowed by a grateful public.

When the Educational Emergency Relief project was terminated in 1935, fundraising became a prime objective of the Association. Substantial help came in 1938 when the Rotary Club contributed $300 and the Woman's Club gave five dollars a month to purchase books. In 1939 the Town Council contributed $100. In time all local clubs contributed to the support of the financially-strapped library. Additional books were obtained when Mrs. Neuin toured the town with her son's wagon to collect donated books.

The Town Council and the Schuylkill Haven School District also began appropriating money for the library, beginning with $800 and $500, respectively. By 1966 appropriations were $8000 and $2000, respectively.

The library was incorporated in 1942 and continued to grow, necessitating relocation to 35 E. Main Street in 1943, and to the former Eiler building at 5 E. Main Street in 1949. When the First National Bank and Trust purchased this building, the library purchased a frame building and empty lot at Union and St. John Streets. When this facility became inadequate, the Board purchased an adjoining property and made plans for building a new library. Borough Manager Richard Davis applied for a federal grant under the Public Works Acceleration Act, aided by Congressman George M. Rhodes. The grant of $64,680 was supplemented by $45,900 from Schuylkill Haven Borough.

Ground breaking took place on July 1, 1963 and the library was temporarily housed at 14 St. John Street. Meanwhile, fund drives led by Mrs. Richard Pflueger, Mrs. S. B. Detweiler, and Mrs. Aaron Dewald, garnered $21,000for new equipment and furnishings. Generous donations of $1000 from the Schuylkill Haven Woman's Club and the Alcoa Foundation helped the fundraisers exceed their goal

The new library at 104 St. John Street, its current location, was dedicated on June 26, 1966 during ceremonies featuring an address by Governor William W. Scranton.

When the library first started it had 800 volumes and was open 12 hours per week. But thanks to the continuing support of Schuylkill Haven Borough and Schuylkill Haven Area School District, the library has continued to grow. Contributions to the Library Trust Fund, which was established in 1973 by the Schuylkill Haven Rotary Club, have also provided considerable financial support. Major contributions from Fanny E. Sterner (1989), Dr. Paul S. Christman (1991), George Edward Gangloff (1994), and Grace E. Rodgers (1998) have made it possible to expand library holdings and services. Today the library is open 49 hours per week and houses more than 27, 000 items

In 1996 the Board of Trustees decided to invest more than $50,000 of the trust fund holdings in the computerization of library operations. Today library patrons can use computers to access the library's catalog, create reports on the word processors; print articles from electronic encyclopedias and other reference works; find articles from thousands of magazines via the Pennsylvania Power Library project, uncover almost unlimited information on the Internet; and read library news via this homepage. Books-on-tape, videos, and large print books are also provided.

The library is also offering more children's services than ever before, including several weekly story hours for 3-to-5 year olds throughout the year, and a reading program for all children during the summer.

From a small collection of books begun during the Great Depression to a high-tech provider of services and information for the 21st century, the Schuylkill Haven Free Public Library proudly continues to serve the citizens of the Schuylkill Haven Area School District.