The North East Free Library Association was founded in 1899 and housed in several locations until 1916. In 1913, Mr. John McCord, a Chicago resident who formerly lived in North East, bequeathed $25,000 to the people of North East for the construction of a public library building. In 1975 the original building was expanded to better accommodate a growing community. In 1992 an elevator was installed in order to make the facility wheelchair accessible.

The library operates with the guidance of the nine member Board of Trustees and the 95 member McCord Library Association. From 1916 until 1969 the library was financially supported by the joint school boards of North East. Then the North East Township Supervisors and the North East Borough Council levied a direct library tax which continues to partially support the library at this time. The library is also funded by private contributions.

Currently the paid library staff consists of one full-time director, Samantha Moore, and seven part-time staff members. McCord’s collection contains over 40,000 items and serves all of Erie County.