A HISTORY OF THE LIBRARY
This organized library was then called the Young Men’s
Literary Association of Geneseo.
Membership to this Association was at a price of $1.00
initiation fee and quarterly dues of $.50. Those living in Geneseo and vicinity
were eligible for this membership. These membership funds bought the first books
and periodicals made available to its membership. Between the years of 1855 and
1881, the YMCA and the WCTU (Women’s Christian Temperance Union) additionally
sponsored the library, respectively.
However, “in 1880 it was felt the library was not doing
the good it might and the members proposed to donate all books and property to
the City of Geneseo if the city in turn would establish a library under the
In 1881, after the city agreed to the plan, it procured a charter, appropriated $800 for expenses, rented space above another downtown business, and hired a librarian for its first city library.
Thanks go to the late Reverend M.J. Miller, who was president of the Board of Trustees for hinting of need for “a generous lover of Geneseo’s people to make the offer to build a library building…”
In 1898, Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Hammond gave $10,000 for the
purpose of building a proper library with furnishings for residents. More funds
were raised by citizens through subscription for a site for the building.
Through the ensuing years many interested citizens donated books and equipment.
The year 1965 found the library bursting at its seams. More
space was necessary. Several years followed with respective Boards vying
alternative solutions to their dilemma. The Library Board of Geneseo finally
made the decision to build new.
|It was in 1976 that the library collection, along
with some original furnishings, was moved to a new building, right
next-door at 218 South State Street. This building was named after George B. Dedrick, a long time
Library Trustee; the meeting room was deemed the Hammond Room to honor the
The “old” library housed the Geneseo Historical
Association Museum for the next few years until 1998. The Geneseo
Historical Association then purchased a building across the street at 205
South State Street. The Geneseo Public Library District used the old
library building for storage until the trustees sold the building in
September of 2005 to Theresa Jones, of the law office White and Jones, for
a sum of $85,000.
The “old” library housed the Geneseo Historical Association Museum for the next few years until 1998. The Geneseo Historical Association then purchased a building across the street at 205 South State Street. The Geneseo Public Library District used the old library building for storage until the trustees sold the building in September of 2005 to Theresa Jones, of the law office White and Jones, for a sum of $85,000.
The history of the library has
always exhibited a steady growth. The library collection or holdings have grown from
the original 1,100 volumes in 1881 to well over 45,000 by 2009.
In 1987 the library changed from a township to a district library in an effort to serve more of its surrounding area and citizens. The library is controlled by the election of a 7-member board of trustees and State of Illinois Statutes (laws), which are set specifically for governing district libraries. When the library became a district library it doubled the population which it served in the townships from 6,603 in 1970 and 7357 in 1980. As stated before, the library now serves a population of 13,102. The library has not been affiliated with the city of Geneseo since1888.
Over half of the District’s
population holds library cards. Proof that
reading, education, and the library are important to the citizens of this
This collection is managed by an automated
circulation system, which was added in 1992. This system acts as the card
catalog, and also as check-in, and checkout for the materials you wish to
borrow. It also maintains a confidential database of your vital
information, which is needed for our use only.
Due to technology growth and collection growth the 1976 building on State Street soon outgrew progress and a new one story $2.5 million building was constructed at 805 N. Chicago Street, Geneseo. The new library opened on October 1, 2011 and was entirely funded with private donations from community supporters.
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last updated 7-13-2009