Bay County was formed in 1857, and twelve years later a group individuals from Bay City came to form the Bay City Library Association which ultimately became the Bay County Library System that we know today. The first county library was actually in Portsmouth Township about a year earlier as the Ladies Library Association of Portsmouth lead by Mrs. William Daglish, its first president. It was located in a room of the Portsmouth Post Office and only last a few years. West Bay City had the first library building in 1884 when lumberman Henry W. Sage decided the community needed one. He sparred no expense in building a fine structure that has endured till this day.
When West Bay City merged with Bay City in 1905, they had their own library building and the Bay City Library Association was still a tenant renting space from a variety of landlords over its history. The Sage Library operated independent of them as there was no central system at the time. That didn't happen until 1922 when the two independent systems merge into one. The merger decision was primarily the result the Carnegie Corporation that built the Central Library on Center and Jackson. Carnegie was insistance that the libraries merge under one board or else they would walk a way from the project. Not wanting to loose the Carnegie funding and expertise that came along with the condition, it was agreed to establish one body to govern the new library system and a new Central Library was built on Center avenue.
Today the Bay County Library System has several branch libraries throughout the county and in deeply involved in meeting the educational, research and entertainment needs of students, teachers and citizens. Whether you use the library facilities or not, it most like has touched you in an indirect way. It may be through the education of your children and grandchildren whose education is being supported by a number of programs initiated by the library. It may be a relative is doing you family genealogy who has spent countless hours using the libraries research capabilities.
In general, the people of this community have always supported the library knowing its importance to the progress of our communities. The library is the hub of information for our community, housing the latest novels, historical documents and books on our history, copies of the newspapers since they were first able to be copied, facts and figures, censuses, micro-films, etc. They have it all, even public computers if you don't have one of your own. The library is truly a bargain made possible by a society that understands information as a key to opening up the possibilities of a better life for everyone. And, it is the best educational bargain that we have going for us.