The Macomb City Library was formed by action of the City Council. The Library was organized on November 10, 1881 when the mayor appointed a Library Board of Directors of nine members. The first library opened on April 8, 1882 on the upper floor of the Stocker Building at 109 South Side Square.

In 1883 when the City of Macomb purchased the building at 108 South Lafayette Street, the Macomb City Library was moved to the second floor. On October 28, 1904 the Macomb City Public Library opened in a new Carnegie Building at 235 South Lafayette Street.

The Children’s Library was opened to the public on June 20, 1980. A hallway and two rooms were added to connect the two buildings on July 3, 1983.

On July 1, 1992, by action of the Library Board of Trustees, Macomb City Council, and McDonough County Circuit Court Action, the Macomb City Library became the Macomb Public Library District.

An Illinois State Library Building Construction Grant was applied for under Build Illinois. The $3.5 million project was approved with funding consisting of 80% grant and 20% local match. The 1904 Carnegie building was remodeled to meet current technology needs and the Americans with Disabilities Act. A 10,000 square foot addition (two stories) was constructed to house a children department and adult services. The remodeling was completed in 2014.