The Independence Public Library was formed in 1892 by the Independence Library Association, and Miss Carrie Wallace, a relative of former First Lady Bess Wallace Truman, was the first librarian, serving until 1947. She was instrumental in laying the ground work for the establishment of a genealogical library in the local public library. Early donations by the Independence Pioneers Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) were the first genealogy materials collected by the Mid-Continent Public Library.
The Jackson County Public Library, Mid-Continent Public Library's predecessor and successor to the Independence Public Library, was formed in 1947. In 1971, MCPL acquired a collection of Missouri county histories, and the "Missouri Room" was opened at the Independence Branch to accommodate patrons pursuing local historical information. In 1972, the North Independence Branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library became the home of the genealogy collection. In 1996, the collection was moved to the facility that became the MCPL Genealogy and Local History Branch, and in 2008, the Midwest Genealogy Center was opened at 3440 S. Lee's Summit Road in Independence, Missouri. Since the initial donation of a single $14.64 book by the DAR in 1927, the Midwest Genealogy Center's collection has grown to over 17,000 circulating titles, more than 85,000 reference titles, and a vast number of periodicals and newspapers, as well as microforms, maps, and online databases.The Center's website has a significant collection of online material also.