Although its origins may be traced back to 1883, the Šmarje pri Jelšah Library acquired the status of an independent public institute in 2003. It manages branches in Podčetrtek, Bistrica ob Sotli, Kozje, and Lesično, cooperating closely with the Šmarje pri Jelšah Cultural House.
In 2002 the library was enlarged and modernised, now offering a multimedia space with 5 computers, a children's corner, and a study room. Library-goers are welcome to participate in the many activities and events designed to foster reading culture and information literacy, such as literary evenings, creative workshops, exhibitions, lectures, and various courses. The library also houses the University of the Third Age, which facilitates social and educational activities for elderly members.