In the early twentieth century, the Mount Pleasant area of the city was rapidly being developed into a neighborhood of predominately middle-class single-family homes. In 1906, the Sprague House Association opened a library in a wooden building owned by the Association. Eight years later, the Sprague House Association "combined with the Federal Hill House Association and gave the building to the Providence Public Library." For the next thirty-five years PPL would continue to use this building to provide library services to local residents in Mount Pleasant.
According to PPL's branch library building program, a new building for the citizens of Mount Pleasant was slated for construction by the early 1940s. However, work on the building was delayed until after the Great Depression and World War Two. In 1940,
a citizen of another section of Providence, who desires to remain anonymous, gave the Trustees of the Providence Public Library $10,000 in War Savings Bonds for the purpose of helping to replace the present inadequate library on Armington Avenue with a modern building. It was then estimated that the new branch, with furniture, would cost about $50,000. The benefactor offered to make an additional gift of $15,000, if the balance of the sum required were raised within five years.
Given the slow progress on fund-raising due to the war, the benefactor extended the deadline by another five years, but eventually "other gifts from individuals and corporations, together with appropriations from library reserves PPL "reserves" were those allocated for "Central Library repairs and improvements." , provided a total of $100,000" which was spent on the building's construction and furnishings. The last $6,000 of the sum was raised by a "house-to-house canvass" of Elmhurst residents. The building was designed by the architectural firm of Harkness and Geddes and built by Lawrence O. Ahlborg. It opened on June 28, 1949.
Nearly twenty years later PPL added an annex to the building which more than doubled the size of the library. The $200,000 cost of the addition was paid by city and state grants, with the city providing half the funds and the rest shared by the state and federal governments.