On February 4, 1963 six-concerned citizens of Pulaski County met in the Security Bank in Waynesville MO, to form the Pulaski County Library and Bookmobile Committee. They were Norma Lea Mihalevich, Eula Ferguson, Eula Burchard, Evelyn Elam, John Roam, and Arnold Franklin. Petitions asking the county court to put the propositions for establishing a county library district and for levying a tax to support a permanent library service for Pulaski County on the ballot were returned with 928 signatures. Petitions requested the court to place two propositions on the ballot at the school election on April 2. The propositions were (1) for establishing a Pulaski County library district; and (2) for a two-mill tax for a free county library. According to Missouri Library Law, the library district that was outside the city limits of Dixon, which already has a tax-supported library. Residents of this city would not vote on the proposition to pay tax. The proposed two mills on the dollar (20 cents on $100), was a small levy in return for which county residents would have available thousands of books and printed materials as well as film, records, and other services that modern libraries supply. (Currently the tax levy is approximately $.14 cent per $100.) The large number of signatures showed the widespread interest in the county on the bookmobile service, since only 306 signatures were required to place the proposition on the ballot. When the voters approved the establishment of county library service, the county court would appoint a library board of five members. This board would employ a trained librarian and necessary personnel, provide for the purchase of books, bookmobile, other essential equipment and plan to provide efficient and economical library service for the citizens of the county.
The movement to secure a permanent library service for Pulaski County was the result of a year’s bookmobile demonstration serving Camden, Laclede and Pulaski counties, made available by the Missouri State Library in 1961. This service would soon be discontinued, and the members of the Pulaski County Library and Bookmobile Committee wanted a permanent library service. In April the tax was overwhelmingly passed and on June 27, 1963 three counties joined to form what was then known as the Kinderhook Regional Library District, they were the Lebanon Library, the Camden Library and the Pulaski County Library. Following the signing of the contract, the combined library boards elected the following officers, Theodore Anderson of Montreal, President, Norma Lee Mihalevich of Crocker Vice President, and Katherine Blair of Lebanon Secretary. Graham H. Sadler of Lebanon was named administrative head of the regional library system. At this time there was only one branch in Pulaski County in Waynesville. But on Jan 22, 1967 the new Richland Service Center of the Kinderhook Regional Library opened. The first librarian was Mrs. Irene Deberry. The center was furnished with library equipment that was built and installed by Library Bureau, a division of Remington Rand Corporation. It was designed to accommodate 12,500 volumes when the full collection was assembled. At that time there were about 6,000 volumes available for circulation,
The Kinderhook Regional Library System remained unchanged until the 1980s when Camden County withdrew and Webster County signed a contract with Pulaski and Laclede Counties. In 1998 Webster County withdrew leaving only Pulaski and Laclede Counties. In 1999 Pulaski and Laclede County decided that they could survive on their own. So on January 1, 2000 the Pulaski County Library District was created. It consists of three branches; the Maxine Warren Memorial Library in Richland, the Norma Lea Mihalevich Memorial Library in Crocker and the Waynesville Library in Waynesville.
In May of 2000, the Richland Branch moved into the Maxine Warren Memorial Library building. The building was donated by Mr. Gordon Warren in honor of his wife Maxine Warren. The entire community was involved in the renovation of the building. The Friends of the Richland Library and the Richland Library raised funds and donated labor to renovate and decorate the building for the library’s use. The Friends of the Richland Library organized and recruited volunteers to move the books and equipment. Naming the library after his wife memorialized Mrs. Warren who was a teacher and long time literacy advocate. She passed away shortly after the library was completed in 2000.
The Crocker branch moved into new quarters in October of 2004. The building was formerly the Pulaski County Health Department Building. The Crocker Library is named in honor of Norma Lea Mihalevich, a lifelong supporter of libraries in Pulaski County and a long time member of the Library board.
There are currently over 65,000 print materials available for cardholders throughout the area. The library district has computers available to the public for researching online and word processing at all three branches. The library district is completely computerized and linked to a consortium of libraries that gives access to many library collections of Missouri. Genealogy rooms at Waynesville and Richland have microfilm reader/printers with microfilm and additional genealogical materials are available at all three branches.