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Rock Island Public Library

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401 19th St, Rock Island, IL 61201
http://www.rockislandlibrary.org
(309) 732-7323
 
Mission Statement: The Rock Island Public Library serves the people of Rock Island and the Milan-Blackhawk area through the Main Library and the 30/31 and Southwest Branches. It seeks to be a learning, information, and popular materials center that re...read more
Mission Statement: The Rock Island Public Library serves the people of Rock Island and the Milan-Blackhawk area through the Main Library and the 30/31 and Southwest Branches. It seeks to be a learning, information, and popular materials center that reaches out to and welcomes all by providing a friendly environment, effective materials, growth experiences, and a supportive staff to meet the needs of citizens today and in the future. History: The Rock Island Public Library holds the distinction of being the oldest public library in the state of Illinois. Its remarkable history actually goes back to its beginning in 1855 as an Association library, funded by donations from local business leaders and subscriptions from the general public. Those citizens who wanted access were required to pay an annual fee of $3.00. This original effort at a city library did not last long, ending after only two years. A second attempt revived the library in 1865 with the privately funded Young Mens Literary Association. Its sponsored lectures featured some well-known speakers from Clara Barton to Ralph Waldo Emerson. The lectures provided a stream of revenue which the association was able to use for the purchase of more books. The Young Mens Literary Association functioned until 1872 when the state of Illinois authorized communities to assess taxes in order to provide public libraries. On November 25, 1872, the Rock Island Public Library opened its doorsthe first public library in the entire state of Illinois. It was housed in one rented room, measuring only 24' x 48', of the Mitchell and Lynde Building just north of 2nd Avenue at 17th Street (now the site of the National City Bank). The building now in use, at 401-19th Street, was completed and opened in 1903. It was first called Rock Islands Temple of Literature. Much of its funding came from the donations of two contemporary Rock Island businessmen, Frederick Denkmann and Frederick Weyerhaeuser, his brother-in-law, who would later become giants in the American lumber business. For those who take a moment to notice, the buildings columns support an original frieze that surrounds the building, in which are engraved the names of a dozen notable authors. The original librarys stone walls were quarried in North Amherst, Ohio, and were initially gray in color. Their exposure to the elements has turned them to a mellow gold, perhaps due to tiny amounts of iron in the stone which has oxidized over the years. The library building has been updated and refurbished several times. Its collections of books and resources are continually replenished. In 1985, the building was enhanced by the construction of a large addition. As a finishing touch, the Harris and Katz family donated a sculptural fountain for the north side of the new addition. The official name for of the fountain is Essere Umano (to be human), although it is commonly thought of as the library swans. Today the library operates in three locations: the main library, which continues to serve the larger community from its site in downtown Rock Island, the 30/31 branch, and the Southwest Branch. The 30/31 Branch has been expanded and remodeled to include a computer center, a drive-up window, and a Friends of the Library Coffee Shop and Book Sale room. Similarly, the Southwest branch has just expanded and renovated its facilities, nearly quadrupling its space. It now enjoys a much larger collection, expanded computer access, and a community room. Both branches have specialized homework resources and materials of interest to children and youth as well as the adult population. The Rock Island Public Library belongs to the QuadLINC library consortium that networks 25 member libraries into a shared system. Residents of Rock Island can now access the areas libraries catalog listings from the convenience of their home computers. Card holders can place reserves, see what they have checked out, and request books to be delivered from other libraries. Today the Ro
 
 

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Mission Statement: The Rock Island Public Library serves the people of Rock Island and the Milan-Blackhawk area through the Main Library and the 30/31 and Southwest Branches. It seeks to be a learning, information, and popular materials center that reaches out to and welcomes all by providing a friendly environment, effective materials, growth experiences, and a supportive staff to meet the needs of citizens today and in the future. History: The Rock Island Public Library holds the distinction of being the oldest public library in the state of Illinois. Its remarkable history actually goes back to its beginning in 1855 as an Association library, funded by donations from local business leaders and subscriptions from the general public. Those citizens who wanted access were required to pay an annual fee of $3.00. This original effort at a city library did not last long, ending after only two years. A second attempt revived the library in 1865 with the privately funded Young Mens Literary Association. Its sponsored lectures featured some well-known speakers from Clara Barton to Ralph Waldo Emerson. The lectures provided a stream of revenue which the association was able to use for the purchase of more books. The Young Mens Literary Association functioned until 1872 when the state of Illinois authorized communities to assess taxes in order to provide public libraries. On November 25, 1872, the Rock Island Public Library opened its doorsthe first public library in the entire state of Illinois. It was housed in one rented room, measuring only 24' x 48', of the Mitchell and Lynde Building just north of 2nd Avenue at 17th Street (now the site of the National City Bank). The building now in use, at 401-19th Street, was completed and opened in 1903. It was first called Rock Islands Temple of Literature. Much of its funding came from the donations of two contemporary Rock Island businessmen, Frederick Denkmann and Frederick Weyerhaeuser, his brother-in-law, who would later become giants in the American lumber business. For those who take a moment to notice, the buildings columns support an original frieze that surrounds the building, in which are engraved the names of a dozen notable authors. The original librarys stone walls were quarried in North Amherst, Ohio, and were initially gray in color. Their exposure to the elements has turned them to a mellow gold, perhaps due to tiny amounts of iron in the stone which has oxidized over the years. The library building has been updated and refurbished several times. Its collections of books and resources are continually replenished. In 1985, the building was enhanced by the construction of a large addition. As a finishing touch, the Harris and Katz family donated a sculptural fountain for the north side of the new addition. The official name for of the fountain is Essere Umano (to be human), although it is commonly thought of as the library swans. Today the library operates in three locations: the main library, which continues to serve the larger community from its site in downtown Rock Island, the 30/31 branch, and the Southwest Branch. The 30/31 Branch has been expanded and remodeled to include a computer center, a drive-up window, and a Friends of the Library Coffee Shop and Book Sale room. Similarly, the Southwest branch has just expanded and renovated its facilities, nearly quadrupling its space. It now enjoys a much larger collection, expanded computer access, and a community room. Both branches have specialized homework resources and materials of interest to children and youth as well as the adult population. The Rock Island Public Library belongs to the QuadLINC library consortium that networks 25 member libraries into a shared system. Residents of Rock Island can now access the areas libraries catalog listings from the convenience of their home computers. Card holders can place reserves, see what they have checked out, and request books to be delivered from other libraries. Today the Ro