The library renovation was funded in 2008 with a special appropriation by the Georgia General Assembly in honor of the service of former House Speaker Thomas Bailey Murphy following his death in December, 2007. Governor Perdue signed the bill including the appropriation for the project in the spring of 2008. Bonds were sold to support the project in early 2009. The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia awarded the design contract to Houser Walker Architecture and tvs design in May of that year. Parrrish Construction was awarded the construction contract in the fall of 2009.
Speaker Murphy donated his papers and office contents to the University of West Georgia Foundation, Inc. when he left office in 2003. At the time of the donation, the university agreed to re-create his State Capitol office on its campus. In 2007, the university developed a long-range plan for library renovation and expansion. The renovation plan was developed to encompass the addition of the Murphy office within the library. On the Speaker’s death, members of the Georgia legislature approached the university concerning an appropriate memorial and agreed to submit the Murphy office project and library renovation to the General Assembly for its approval.