The Colby Public Library was founded in December of 1879. A donation of $250 was given by visiting railroad officials, along with a beginning collection of 58 books. The first library was housed in the office of C.F. Grow and was available to Village of Colby residents only.
In 1899, the library was reorganized and recognized by the Common Council of the City of Colby. It was then relocated to the office of Dr. Freeman. In 1900, the library received its first appropriations from the city and employed its first paid librarian at a rate of 10 cents per hour.
By 1908, the library was open five hours per week. In 1920, library services were extended to the Townships of Colby and Hull.
When a new city hall was erected in 1952, the library moved into part of that building. Story times and summer reading programs began in the 1960s. In 1971, the library was open 10 hours per week. By 1975, to comply with state regulations, the library was staffed 25 hours weekly.
In 1989, plans began to increase the size of the library. The portion of the city hall that had formerly housed the fire station was made into the new library. Moving into the new quarters in 1991 increased the size of the library from 1200 to 2400 square feet. A Friends group was formed to provide assistance in furnishing the new library with a variety of equipment, including computers.
The Colby Public Library is currently serving the public 42 hours per week. Programming offerings include pre-school story times, adult book clubs, writing club, volunteer and volunteen opportunities, summer reading program, annual book sale, and several open houses throughout the year. Services include Internet computers, printer and copy machines, scanner, microfilm reader, and fax machine.
Vicky Calmes serves as director of the Colby Public Library. The staff consists of Vlasta K. Blaha, Emily Mueller and Brittani Mertens.