In January 1874, the Akron City Council passed an ordinance to create a free public library for the city. On February 27, 1874, the Board of Trustees of the newly-formed Akron Public Library met for the first time, with John R. Buchtel serving as the first Board President. The Akron Public Library officially opened to the public in a building at the corner of Mill and South Howard streets on March 1, 1874. A century later, in 1974, the Library became the Akron-Summit County Public Library, incorporating suburban branch libraries into its system.
Today, the Akron-Summit County Public Library's official service area includes the City of Akron and all of Summit County except for Barberton, Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson, Peninsula, Stow-Munroe Falls, and Twinsburg, all of which are served by independent libraries. Anyone living, working, or attending school in Ohio is eligible to register for a free Akron-Summit County Public Library card.