Photo Record

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Catalog Number 2010.002.099
Object Name Print, Photographic
Description Black and white photograph of the groundbreaking of the Elk Grove Village public library at Kennedy Blvd and Brantwood Avenue. Groundbreaking took place on April 11, 1965.

Collection Elk Grove Historical Museum
Notes The first public library opened in 1959 and functioned out of a suburban home at 38 Forest Lane with limited hours and volunteer help. Story hours were initially held on the front lawn. The mail box served as a book drop and the bathtub held books until they were checked in. This first library and subsequent formal library was largely made possible by efforts of the Elk Grove Village Junior Woman's Club. Kathyrn Fleming, member of the JWC, served as the committee chairperson for the first library with husband, Robert, to provide services and advise.

First, a petition was signed by 358 persons requesting an election to establish a free public library and it was presented to the trustees of the village. In May of 1959 Ordinance 100 was passed by the Elk Grove Village Board of Trustees calling for a special election to be held July 18th to vote to establish a free public library. On the ballot, six library directors were to be elected. Candidates for the office or library directors (trustees) filed their petitions with the village clerk. Voters were also asked to approve the measure, which would levy 10 percent taxation (one mill for $100 assessed valuation for maintenance of the library). Polling places were established; one at a model home and the other at Rupley School supplied with judges from JWC members. The JWC paid for the election cost of $1,600 through proceeds from dances, rummage and bake sales.

A fund campaign, known as "A Book and A Buck" drive, established funds to defray expenses for equipment in the model house at 38 Forest Lane that was temporarily being lent to the JWC by Centex Builders. 1500 books and $400 were donated in the door to door collection. Desks, shelving, typewriters, etc. were needed and soon became available.

The JWC Library Committee became engaged in stamping and indexing books and made pleas for the donation of office equipment to furnish the library. The state library loaned 500 books (juvenile and youth) for one year which helped circulation. The library tax levy was approved by a vote of 132 to 32 in ballot voting Sat. July 18, 1959. Six library trustees were elected: Helen Stefens and Harry Mikkelsen for a 3-year term, James Steffens and Dorothy Monetti for a 2-year term, and a 6-year term for Kathlyn and Robert Fleming. The Elk Grove Village Public Library officially opened to the public on August 18, 1959 with 116 adult and 211 children cards issued and 1909 books assessed. At first, the library was open on Tuesday evenings from 7:00-9:00 p.m., Wednesday from 3:00-4:00 p.m., and Saturday from 1:00-4:00 p.m.

In late 1959, Centex asked $1800 for the sale of the model house. The matter was brought to the village board with the request that the bond issue be floated for the property's acquisition.
Shelving for $1,056 was bought in November as the club continued to pledge themselves to the support of the library with more fundraisers including fashion shows and their annual dances. It wasn't until late 1961 when the library would be on the tax roll.

The library was off to a good start towards the finest public library in the area. It was with the support of the club members, volunteers, and village that the junior's vision became a reality.
The Library existed in the model home until July of 1966 when it occupied a newly built building at Brantwood and Kennedy Blvd. In August of 1987, the library suffered from an overflow of Salt Creek which flooded the building, destroying 30,000 books and most of the furnishings. This eventually led to the building of the present library on the grounds of the Lindahl Field, which opened for business on September 10, 1990 at 1001 Wellington Avenue.

Source Maggie McCarthy
Search Terms library