The central building of the Morley Library on Phelps Street was provided by the local Women’s Christian Temperance Union, which established a temperance library and reading room in 1878. The public library was created when groups began to donate books, while the village of Painesville agreed to provide tax funds. Local businessman Jesse Healy bought the land and erected the library building. Named in honor of his parents, and Morley Library opened its doors in October of 1899, with Julie Erwin as librarian.
Additions to the original building were made in 1937 and 1978, and the first bookmobile started running in 1957. Morley Library automated its catalog and circulation 1984 with the passage of the first operating levy. In 1988, an Audio Visual Room, a new bookmobile, and Sunday hours were introduced. Internet access in the library began in 1997 through OPLIN, The Ohio Public Library Information Network. A groundbreaking ceremony on May 14, 2003 marked the official construction of a new three story library designed by Meeham Architects of Cleveland, Ohio. The original library closed to the public at 5:00 PM on Sunday, October 17, 2004, and the new state of the art Morley Library building opened to the public on November 7, 2004. The building was officially dedicated on Sunday, February 13, 2005. The Genealogy Room of Morley Library features historic components of the original Morley Library including the entrance leaded glass windows which were features of the 1899 building.