Since its founding in 1847, Otterbein University has always had a library. The first consisted of only 300 books and was housed in the old Main Building (the predecessor to Towers Hall). The first full-time librarian, Tirza Barnes, was hired in 1904.

Four years later, with the help of funds from Andrew Carnegie, the first campus library building was erected. It served the campus until the late 1940s when it was determined that a larger facility was needed.

An addition was built on the west end of the Administration Building (known today as Towers Hall) and was christened the Centennial Library. In less than fifteen years the collection, which included an audio-visual center and an archives, had outgrown that facility.

The current library facility was opened in 1972 and later given the name Courtright Memorial Library in 1979.
It was named in memory of Robert and Ada Courtright by their son A. Monroe Courtright, an Otterbein alumnus, World War II pilot, and local newspaper publisher.