Library History

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1967: A Humble Beginning

The first location was an 800 square-foot, 3-bedroom home located at 1631 N Glen Ellyn Road, remaining in that location from February through May 1974. The house was leased by the village from Mr. Harold Reskin for $1.00 per year. Volunteers from the community and a 3-member Library Commission, appointed by the Village, operated the library.

The children’s section and circulation desk were located in the living room. The reference department was in the master bedroom. Adult fiction and non-fiction were in the other two bedrooms. The office and processing areas were in the kitchen and laundry. Receiving and storage occupied the main bath while the small bath was left for public use. The book collection at this time was approximately 2,000 donated books. The library was open fourteen hours a week.

The new and growing library was fortunate to have the support of the Glenside Junior Women’s Club. The Women’s Club supplied money and volunteers to staff the library. Husbands made shelves and painted walls. The club members donated drapes, typed catalog cards, sold candy and conducted story hours which also included a craft project. One of the founders was Astrid Oomens.  Other local groups gave money, donated books, a flag, etc. Youth groups helped out at story hours, also by cleaning up outside and planting flowers.
1971: Library Receives Funding

In 1971, the Village voted to fund the library through liquor licensing fees. This amount varied from $6,000 to $12,000 a year. The money was used to pay the library’s very small staff, buy books, start a rental collection of current fiction, and subscribe to a few magazines.

The book collection consisted of 5,500 volumes. The Library Commission and staff felt the library needed to be tax supported and assistance was asked of the DuPage Library System. At the suggestion of the System a demonstration Project PLUS commenced on July 1, 1973.

Project PLUS was a grant from the Illinois State Library that ran for one year and was used to demonstrate potential improvements in library service. The acronym PLUS, indicating: “Promoting Larger Units of Service.” The project PLUS grant applied only to district libraries. The district library concept was a way of bringing library service to previously un-served areas. A referendum was required within nine months to confirm the change to a district library status. The start of Project PLUS brought the library its first professional librarian, Elizabeth Snyder.
1974: Our Second Location

On February 23, 1974 a referendum was passed to begin the Glendale Heights Public Library District. The Library District’s boundaries were the same as those of the village. The first Board of Trustees was appointed by the DuPage County Board. Six of the seven members were suggested by the Village and some of them were people who had served on the Library Commission. Audrey Knobbe , another founder of the library was a trustee at this time.

In 1973-1974 the collection had grown to 12,272 items and had a circulation of 25,854. In June of 1974 the library moved to 1530 N Glen Ellyn Road into two prefabricated school units provided by the Village.
1975: Our Third Location

At this time the Village complex was being built and the library was invited to share space with the complex; however, the Village could not allow the library the amount of space necessary for future expansion. By 1975 the collection had grown to 17,444 items with a circulation of 47,408. With continued growth and development the newly formed Library District again found the need to move to a larger facility. The library was then relocated to a 4,500 square-foot storefront building near Glen Ellyn Road on North Avenue.

In 1978 a second Project PLUS demonstration was completed, a referendum was held and Glen Ellyn Countryside was included in the district. Because the district no longer encompassed only Glendale Heights the name was changed to the Glenside Public Library District.

In 1978 the library board developed a 20-year program was developed for the Glenside Library. This program was to give guidance in locating a site and constructing a building.

A financial consultant advised the library of the best means of securing funding. All available sources of grants were explored prior to determining that the funds would be obtained through the sale of a bond issue.

The successful passage of a $2.4 million dollar bond issue referendum on September 27, 1980 was followed by the purchase of a three-acre site at 25 East Fullerton Avenue, across from Americana School, for $175,000.

Passage of the referendum was greatly aided by the participation of the Glendale Heights Jaycees. They received state recognition for their efforts. Mrs. Nancy Bausom was Administrative Librarian during this busy time, with Joseph Chambers as Board President.
1981: Our Forever Home

Construction began on May 19, 1981 and progressed well throughout the year. The building was completed on time and within the budget. The Architect was Wight and Co.  Dedication of the new 25,000 square-foot building took place on July 10, 1982. At the time of dedication the library employed the equivalent of 10 full-time people and had 33,500 items in its collection with an annual circulation of 82,219.
2002: Addition and Renovation

In the year 2002, under the direction of Kathryn Vojtech and Liz Fitzgerald, Team Administrators, and Board President Elizabeth Minicz, the new addition of a 12,000 sq ft. Youth Services wing and renovation of the original 20,000 sq ft. building were completed. The design solution provided for a separate children’s library, enhanced computer facilities in all departments, a larger adult services department with separate quiet study room and increased capacity for public meetings.

In 2004, the library had a collection of over 100,000 items, a circulation of over 225,000, and over 13,000 cardholders.
2017: 50th Anniversary

In 2017, the library celebrated its 50th anniversary by going fine free. Patrons that return items in good condition, never have to pay a fine again. Plus, we waived existing overdue fines.

Through all its 50 years, the library has been fortunate to have so many staff members, trustees and volunteers serve with ability and dedication. Without all the staff members, trustees and volunteers the library could not have grown to the beautiful building and grounds we occupy today.

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