The Upper Cumberland Regional Library had its beginning in the fall of 1945 when Miss Martha Parks, director, Division of Libraries, Tennessee Department of Education and Mrs. Maude Terry of Cookeville visited various county courts and civic groups acquainting the people with the possibilities of establishing regional library service. This resulted in Smith, DeKalb, Putnam, and White Counties meeting the necessary matching requirements to form a region in the spring of 1946. Overton and Cumberland Counties joined the program in July 1946 and it was at this time that Miss Alberta Cameron was employed as the Regional Librarian.
In July 1947, the region expanded to include Jackson County and in September, Pickett County. September also brought a new Regional Librarian as Miss Helen Qualls replaced Miss Cameron. By 1948-49 White and Jackson Counties had dropped out and Van Buren joined the program. In July 1952 Bledsoe County had become a part of the region.
In keeping with a state-wide policy of naming the various regions, the name, Upper Cumberland Region, came into being in 1954. Helen Qualls’ resignation in June 1956 left the region without a regional librarian until Miss Julia Greer assumed this position in October.
The area served by the Upper Cumberland Region had remained stable since 1952, but in 1956, Pickett and Cumberland Counties were unable to appropriate sufficient local funds. Hoping that these county courts could somehow locate the funds, service was not stopped abruptly. By the end of the year, however, Pickett County had dropped out of the program, and Cumberland County was in the process of being transferred to the Caney Fork Region which was being formed. Two other counties, Bledsoe and Van Buren, were also soon to become a part of the Caney Fork Region. At the same time, ground work was being laid in Macon and Fentress Counties for these areas to become a part of the Upper Cumberland Region as demonstration counties in 1957-1958.
Jackson and Clay Counties joined the region in July 1959 as demonstrations bringing the total number of counties to eight. Jackson and Clay County library demonstrations were completed in June 1961 with the County Courts voting the funds to assume the financial responsibility. That same year, Pickett County joined the region as the final and fifth demonstration bringing the number of counties served to nine.
Due to a political situation in the County, Clay County dropped from the region for a brief time, but by 1962-63 service was resumed. The nine counties, Clay, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Picket, Putnam, and Smith, have remained constant since 1962.