McMillan Memorial Library began as the Overton Public Library in 1934, using a small room in the Overton Chamber of Commerce building. The first meeting of the Overton Library Association was held on January 4, 1935 and by 1936 book reviews, benefit parties, donations and fifty cent subscription dues were the financial means of purchasing books and paying staff.
The Overton City Council voted August 11, 1937 to finance the upkeep of the building and the librarian’s salary. Rusk County agreed to supply books to the local library and it thereby became a branch of the Rusk County Library System. Eventually, books and salaries were supplied by Rusk County with the City of Overton responsible for the building.
The Overton Public Library became the McMillan Memorial Library in 1956 in a dedication ceremony held by Dr. Bruce McMillan in memory of his wife, Mary Moore McMillan and his son, Bruce McMillan, Jr. (Booden). It was Mrs. McMillan’s wish that such a facility be built for the citizens of Overton and the surrounding area.
The McMillan Memorial Library was expanded in 1972 with an addition of a non-fiction reading room to the existing facility. This addition was also to be used for Children’s Storytime. The project was initiated by the Bruce McMillan, Jr. Foundation.
Once again in 1989, the Bruce McMillan, Jr., Foundation renovated and enlarged the McMillan Memorial Library. The library was essentially doubled in size with the addition of 1,783 square feet which included a new “Bruce McMillan, Jr. Children’s Reading Room” in memory of the Foundation’s namesake and a new “W.P. Moore Research-Reference Room” in memory of Mrs. McMillan’s father. Included in the renovation was a larger parking area and adequate facilities for the handicapped.
With the realization McMillan Memorial Library had outgrown the 302 E. South Street location, the Bruce McMillan, Jr., Foundation, Inc. began the search for property for a new facility. In 2009, land was purchased and formal planning was organized by Foundation President, Ralph Ward, Jr. The Foundation chose Butler Architectural Group to design the new McMillan Memorial Library. During the year of 2010 plans were finalized for the construction of the new 11,383 square foot building to be located at 401 South Commerce Street. Meetings with the City of Overton and Rusk County officials were held to finalize cooperative endeavors.
A Groundbreaking ceremony was held on April 26, 2011 and construction by Transet Company followed. On January 30, 2012 McMillan Memorial Library at 302 E. South Street closed to the public to facilitate the move to the new location on South Commerce Street.
Saturday, February 18, 2012 a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house was held to showcase the new facility. Along with the main stack area and children’s room, a large program room, class room, Audio Visual room, and teen area comprise the public use space. An enclosed courtyard and additional outdoor seating are available for patrons. A staff work room, librarian’s office and kitchen complete the new facility.