History of the Library

McKinley Memorial Library_Interior_Vintage-1

The Niles Library Association was established in 1908 with support from private subscription and both city and school board appropriations. The Niles Public Library started in a modest room on State Street. The Library was later moved to the post office building where it remained until 1916. For one year the Library occupied a building on the current McKinley Memorial grounds. The National McKinley Birthplace Memorial was built to honor our fallen president, William McKinley, the 25th president of the United States, born in Niles, Ohio. Joseph Butler, McKinley's childhood friend, was instrumental in the planning and fundraising in order to have the Memorial built. He envisioned the public library occupying the south wing of the Memorial. In 1917, with the completion of the Memorial building, the Library moved into the south wing.

McKinley Memorial Library_Interior_Vintage-2

In 1918 the name was changed from the Niles Library Association to the McKinley Memorial Library Association. The Library has always remained a Public Library.

Ohio's Public Libraries began organizing in the 1920's and 1930's to allow for better funding. The majority became school district libraries as McKinley Memorial Library did. School district libraries have the Board of Trustees appointed by the School Board. The service area is the same as the school district.

The pictures below were taken during the Dedication of the McKinley Memorial in Niles, Ohio on October 5, 1917:

  • Top Photo: The McKinley Club from Canton, Ohio assembled for their formal picture.
  • Bottom Photo: Massive crowd gathered for the Dedication.

National McKinley Memorial exterior with the McKinley Club gathered in 1917 for dedication.

National McKinley Memorial exterior with large crowd gathered in 1917 for dedication.

In 2017, the National McKinley Birthplace Memorial celebrated its centennial.