Oglesby Public Library District: Through the Years


  • The library welcomes Rebekah Clark as the new librarian on June 29, 2015.


  • The roll top desk purchased in 1928 and the Historical Society display case are refinished and are in the new library.
  • The new library opens on Friday, March 13 with a dedication at 2:00 p.m., one year from the date the grant was announced.


  • Secretary of State George H. Ryan personally presents the first installment check of the Live and Learn Construction Grant to the Board of trustees on March 13. The total grant amount is for $210,649, which is 40% of the total cost of the project.
  • The Phalen Steel Construction Company of Mendota is awarded the contract to build the new library building.
  • The ground-breaking ceremony for the new library is held at noon on July 21. The Friends of the Library host a reception following the ceremony.
  • Construction begins in late July.
  • A fund-raising committee is formed. William Prey is selected as general chair of the group. The drive for donations begins.


  • Joseph McElroy, executive Director of the Heritage Trail Library System, meets with the trustees as the consultant for the proposed new library.
  • Steven Papesh, of Steven M. Papesh and Associates, is hired as the architect.
  • The trustees decide that the new library will be a 7,200 square foot, one-store pre-engineered steel building so that the entire building can be bricked as funds become available.
  • An application for a Live and Learn Construction grant is made to the Illinois State Library on October 15.


  • The application for the Live and Learn Grant is delayed as various other options are considered by the trustees. After much study, the board determines that the original plan is the most feasible.


  • Interested citizens meet in September to discuss ways of financing a new library facility.
  • The board makes plans to apply for a Live and Learn Construction Grant from the Illinois State Library. The remainder of the construction cost will be raised through donations and a mortgage.


  • A referendum proposing the issuance of bonds for the construction of a new library with an increased tax rate is defeated in the April election.
  • As a result of the merger of the Starved Rock and Burr Oak Library Systems, the library becomes a member of the Heritage Trail Library System. The merger provides additional services to library patrons.
  • The Friends of the Oglesby Public Library is chartered on August 24 to promote and support library services and activities.


  • In April, as it looks forward to expansion, the library district acquires the land south of the post office from the City of Oglesby in exchange for the library building, property and other considerations.


  • In April, seven trustees are elected to form the first elected Board of Trustees of the new Oglesby Public Library District.


  • In September, the library becomes a district library. Its boundaries are the same as those of the Oglesby Public School District with some exceptions.


  • The library joins the Starved Rock Library System in February.


  • In April, Max Schmidt is awarded a contract for $4,460 to construct an addition to the north side of the second floor of the library building to provide space for magazine storage.


  • The first floor of the library building is remodeled to be used solely by the City of Oglesby.


  • Harry Harrison, local carpenter, is awarded the contract to build the display case for the historical documents.


  • The Oglesby Jubilee Committee donates $600 to the Oglesby Historical Society for a case to store historical records.


  • The United States Post Office moves to its new building, vacating its quarters on the first floor of the library building. The space becomes known as the library clubrooms and is used for group meetings.


  • Library Board President Bassett is authorized to purchase a roll top desk from the Bent Brothers Store “If, in his opinion, it is a good buy.”


  • The new library, a two-story building, opens in June. The second floor is used by the library and the first floor is used by the City of Oglesby and the United States Post Office.


  • The library purchases the site of the Ross house from the Oglesby Coal Company for $1,800. Preparation begins for the construction of a new library building. The Ross house is moved to a different location. Mr. Hanifer is selected as the architect and the building contractor is Mr. Hosutt.


  • The Oglesby Public Library is organized as a tax-supported facility. The city appropriates $1,000 for library use. The books are moved to the old Ross house on the northeast corner of Walnut St. and Woodland Ave.


  • The Oglesby Library commission is formed by member of the Oglesby Union Church and the Oglesby Woman’s Club. The books are first moved to the basement of the newly constructed Fraternity Building and later are moved to the basement of the Oglesby Union Church. Lucille Elliott, a trained librarian and secretary for H.H. Bent, arranges and catalogs the books and becomes the first librarian.


  • The Oglesby Library Association is established on January 1st. The books are moved to the old Miners Hall.


  • The Bent family furnishes books for community use. The location of the lending facility changes from the Oglesby union Church Sunday School rooms on the second look of T.T. Bent’s Company Store at the Oglesby Coal Mine to the T.T. Bent & Sons Grocery and Drug Store.