The Wednesday Club wanted a public library for all Belton readers so they began collecting books at every opportunity. Receptions were held and guests were invited to bring gifts of books to the parlor of the Central Hotel. About 350 books were collected at the first reception, and one of the rooms of the hotel became the library. In a short time, the hotel rooms became too small so a room was rented in the Harris and Walker building on Main Street. Bookcases were built, and Miss Emma Lee was hired as the librarian. The downtown room opened in April 1900.
The Wednesday Club, working with a literary organization called the Century Club, aimed to built a library building in town. Several letters seeking funds were written to Andrew Carnegie. In 1903 Carnegie contributed a personal gift of $10,000 for a library building provided the City of Belton would obtain a lot and agree to maintain a library. W. S. Hunter, Sam S. Walker and other citizens raised $1,500 to purchase a lot at the corner of Main Street and First Avenue. A building committee was appointed and construction began. Smith and More were the architects, and Ben D. Lee was the contractor. Every penny of the Carnegie donation as well as $2,570.68 in citizens' contributions was paid out on the project. No other building in the city but the library displays such exuberant Beaux Arts classicism.The final product culminated with a sixty by fifty-foot, three-bay, and two-story building with 6,220 square feet of library space. The building contained two reading rooms, a lecture room, and a stage.
The building was formally opened under the direction of the Belton City Council on May 15, 1905. The Woman's Wednesday Club presented its 1500 books to the new library, and Miss Lee was appointed librarian. Only two months later, the library closed for lack of funds. For the next twenty-five years, the library struggled to survive. Various fund-raising projects were held, and in 1915, the city of Belton began contributing $15 a month and increased the amount to $600 a year in 1920. The library became a department of the city and part of the city budget in 1933. By the 1970s, the library outgrew the building, and a new structure was built at 301 East First Avenue in 1974. The library building is currently home to the Bell County Museum.