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Illiopolis Business Association 

Local History

ILLIOPOLIS PUBLIC LIBRARY

 On the 30th day of July, 1935, the Illiopolis Public Library received its, certificate of organization from the Secretary of State under the title of Illiopolis Public Library, Inc.  The certificate was signed by V. B. Stanford, President; Mrs. H. C. Roberts, Vice President; Mrs. E. J. McDermott, Secretary-Treasurer; Mrs. J. W. Stapelton, Miss Clara Boyd, and Mrs. I. A. Loose, members.  This legal act was necessary in order to receive the $5,000 bequest of Mrs. Augusta Cantrall.  The will specified that the money be invested permanently in government bonds and these have remained an endowment fund.

 The library continued to be located at the Grade School with members of the Domestic Science club taking charge until 1937.  In that year, the school having need for the extra room, the club decided to move the library to a more central location.  Mr. A. P. Bickenbach offered the room adjoining his drug store at a low rent and for the next six years, this was the site.

With the coming of the Sangamo Ordnance plant in 1942, another move was necessary and the board then purchased from Mr. Stephan Leka the building where the library is now housed.

Extensive remodeling was done to improve the appearance of the room and to provide adequate shelving space.  Some of this labor was donated.  Several articles of furniture and fixtures were contributed by residents and businessmen.

 Except for the interest received from the endowment fund, maintenance of the library has been dependent upon voluntary gifts from individuals, some given as memorials, civic organizations, and fees from membership cards and fines.  Those who serve as librarians receive no salary.  Library service has steadily increased with the growing population; the report for the year 1955 shows a total circulation of adult books and periodicals as 3940, juveniles 2543.  New books are purchased regularly and there are now more than 3000 volumes on the shelves.  These are supplemented by loans from the Illinois State Library Extension Division.  As an additional service a record player and View-master projector, may be borrowed for community use.

In July of 1955, the Library Board, believing the time had come to make plans for a larger building to meet both immediate and future needs, purchased the property on Mary and Sixth Streets which Mrs. Catherine Hemp had recently acquired.  The building on this place, where for many years Mr. William Johnston had conducted a grocery store, was razed and the lot filled in.  Preliminary plans for a new building not only to house the library, but also for community use, are under way.  Money received from bequests in late years have been entered in the building fund as a basis from which to launch a drive for the amount needed to achieve the goal.

The present directors are: Mrs. I. A. Loose, Mrs. V. B. Stanford, Mrs. William Boyd, Mr. W. P. Sullivan, Mrs. E. J. McDermott, Mrs. Kent Roberts, and Mabel S. Fisher.

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