Initial efforts to provide library service in Austin began in the 1870s, when the Austin Ladies Floral Club sold seed packets, bulbs, and plants to establish a ladies' circulating library. Members circulated books from their homes. During this same time, a men's group worked to establish a free reading room and library association.
The Austin Public Library opened its doors in 1884 in the basement of the Mower County Courthouse. In 1904, the library moved to the newly-constructed Carnegie building at 201 2nd St. NW. The present building at 323 4th Ave. NE was completed in 1996. Today this beautiful Prairie-style facility houses over 100,000 volumes and serves the surrounding city and Mower county area of approximately 30,000 residents.