The Howell library association originated as the Ladies Library Association in 1875. That year, the ladies began offering books for lending. The need for spacious, permanent quarters grew, and in 1902, for three hundred dollars and railroad travel expenses, Detroit architect Elijah E. Meyers, designer of the Michigan State Capitol, agreed to provide plans for a new library. The township board hired local builder A.G. Kuehnle for the project. Throughout the county, farmers gathered the fieldstones used to build the Neoclassical library. The structure stands on land donated by the four sons of Howell pioneer William McPherson. An addition to the library was completed in 1991.
"If the city of Howell will pledge itself to support a free library and provide a suitable site, Mr. Carnegie will be glad to furnish ten thousand dollars for a free public library building." In 1902, in response to a request for funds, steel entrepreneur Andrew Carnegie's secretary sent this message to Howell Township Supervisor W.H.S. Wood. Carnegie funded over 2,500 free public libraries throughout the English-speaking world. The philanthropist's gift to Howell eventually amounted to $15,000. In return, the township pledged annual support of no less than 10 percent of Carnegie's donation.
The library opened on November 19, 1906.