Edgartown selectmen Monday voted unanimously to transfer ownership of the town’s historic Carnegie Library building to the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust, which plans to transform the building into a visitor center and repository for historic books, papers and art.

Selectmen recently issued a request for proposals to sell the building to a nonprofit organization with experience restoring historic buildings for the benefit of the public. The preservation trust was the sole bidder. The sale price was $1.

“I remember standing at town meeting, people wanted to know over and over, what’s going to happen to the Carnegie,” said board chairman Michael Donaroma. “We always said we’re going to do something good. I can’t think of anything better.”

“I’m just thrilled the preservation trust is going to shepherd this iconic building in Edgartown into the future and I think we’re very lucky they’re taking it on,” said selectman Arthur Smadbeck.

“It’s a very ambitious plan,” said selectman Margaret Serpa. “Good luck.”

In an interview before Monday’s meeting, preservation trust executive director Chris Scott said he is developing plans to rehabilitate the building to create a space for the visitor center and displays for several historic library collections.

“We’ve been given a very large collection of marine literature from Bailey Norton,” Mr. Scott said. “Others have given us historic papers. We also have a great collection of marine art. The whole thing is going to be educational and cultural, which fits with what the town envisioned.”

The Carnegie building will also highlight the history of Martha’s Vineyard through the various properties owned by the preservation trust. Preliminary plans call for collaboration with the Edgartown Board of Trade to offer information about shopping, dining, galleries and entertainment in Edgartown, as well as a base for walking tours through the downtown historic district.

“That’s a lot to put in a small building but I think it’s going to be a real asset to the Island,” Mr. Scott said. “It gives us a place to tell the story of the preservation trust.”

The trust has been collecting pledges for the estimated $1.5 million it will take to rehab the building and bring it up to current building codes. He said the fundraising campaign has amassed about two-thirds of the funding needed.

“This project is something people see the value in, and want to help,” Mr. Scott said. “Participants in our campaign want to see the future of the building secured.”

Though there are no architectural plans in place, the renovation may include demolishing the rear addition of the library, built in 1938, which currently houses stacks and the children’s library in the basement. Mr. Scott said the area might be used to create an outside terrace.

The preservation trust hopes to begin construction in late fall, about a month after the library staff relocates to the new library near the Edgartown School.

The library building was a gift to the town from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who donated $4,000 for construction of the building in 1904. Caroline F. Warren, who lived next door in the historic Warren House, donated an additional $1,000, and the land where the library now sits at 58 North Water street.

In the deed, Mrs. Warren included a stipulation that the site always be used as a library, or the property would revert to her or her heirs. There is some dispute over whether that condition still holds, but the preservation trust plans to use some of the space to continue library use, which would satisfy the conditions of the deed.

The Carnegie building itself has been at the center of heated dispute in recent years. In 2003 at a town meeting, voters approved an article submitted by petition to purchase the Warren House for $3.5 million, with the intent to incorporate it into a large library expansion project.

The project later fell apart, and the town shifted gears, at considerable extra cost, to begin construction of a new library from the ground up. After town meeting approval, the old Edgartown School was demolished to make way for the new building, which is nearing completion and scheduled for a late summer opening.