Martha Kinney Cooper, the wife of Ohio Governor Myers Y. Cooper, dedicated her time as Ohio First Lady to honoring Ohio artists, authors, and musical composers. She took the leading role in establishing the Martha Kinney Cooper Ohioana Library in 1929. Intending to create a library solely to house the works of Ohioans, Cooper solicited donations of books from authors who were from the state of Ohio. Initially, Cooper housed the collection in the solarium of the Governor's Mansion. In 1935, the library moved to the State Library of Ohio in Columbus.
Regarding the Ohioana Library, Cooper once remarked, "As long as we have authors, poets and musicians, I trust that we shall be able to supply a suitable home for their splendid works, providing also a means to give them the publicity and thanks they so justly deserve." Martha Kinney Cooper remained active in the library's operation until her death in 1964.
In 2005, the Ohioana Library contained more than forty-five thousand books, ten thousand pieces of music and several other types of publications. Since 1958, the library has also published the Ohioana Quarterly. The Quarterly describes recent library acquisitions and provides information on Ohio authors and composers.