The Butler Public Library first opened its doors on June 12, 1926 and was housed in the basement of the courthouse. It was started by a group of public-spirited women and was financed through donations by merchants and local groups. In 1977, the library moved to the present location and a new building was constructed with funds from a legacy by former Butler resident, Hazel Ludwick Neuschafer and her daughter, Norma Neuschafer. The land was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Rice.
Robert A. Heinlein, the renowned science fiction writer, was born in Butler. After his death in 1988, his wife, Virginia, advised the library of her husband’s wish to expand the library. Funds from the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Foundation enabled the renovation of the library, construction of the new wing, and further provisions were made for ongoing maintenance and other continuing assistance from the Foundation. Renovation and construction were completed in 1991.
The library is owned by the Butler Public Library Association, with membership by invitation. It is administered by a seven member board with Library Director, Tifany Fugate, overseeing its operation.
Throughout its history, the library has existed without a tax base for support. The library depends upon memorials, donations from individuals, businesses, service organizations, and the city of Butler.