The Phelps Public Library was started by the Phelps Women's Club in 1934 during the depression years. It was first located in the Phelps State Bank Building. When those quarters became inadequate, it was moved to a small building adjacent to the theater. Later, it functioned at the town hall and at the school. Mrs. Jean Kopf worked faithfully on the library project.
In 1949 the Phelps Woman's Club purchased the Phelps Fire Warden's house from the D.N.R. for the library's new home. It was modernized and shelving was built . It was in use for twenty years. In 1969 when the Community Center was constructed, space for the library was provided in the building. Funds from the sale of its former building and a gift from Lillian Kerr provided shelving and books. In the mid 1980s Vera and Elmer Wavering gave generous donations of Motorola stock to the library.
For many years the library was maintained by the Phelps Woman's Club and operated by volunteer Eleanor Ellis. In 1990 the library had outgrown its space and switched sides with the Town Hall Meeting Room. It doubled the space of the library to 1600 square feet.
Currently, the library is an independent self-governing organization with a five person board. The current board consists of members: Roland Alger, President; Angela Kummerow, Secretary/Treasurer; Linda Meyer, Angie Carlson and Ginny Parker. The library director is Cari Hutton, the clerk is Lori Moser and Laura Myszka is our Story Lady. The library is a member of the Northern Waters Library Service.
The library is maintained primarily by the Town of Phelps with additional funds from Vilas County and the State of Wisconsin. The Phelps Woman's Club remains an active supporter and has been joined in its efforts by the Phelps Lions Club.
With an annual circulation of 25,000 and an inventory of over 15,000 items, including regular and large print books, audiobooks, music CD's, DVD's and magazines, the library is a vital and popular media center offering both recreation and information.
In recent years the addition of a copy machine and fax machine plus high speed Internet access for patrons, wireless access 24/7, word processing, the ability to quickly obtain needed items from other Wisconsin libraries, outreach to our area seniors, story hours, entertainment programs and a rewarding summer reading program, has helped make the library an integral part of the community of Phelps for citizens of all ages.