Glencoe Public Library (from "Seventy-Five Years of Glencoe History")

From Glencoe Public Library | Centennial Celebration

The following appeared on page 43 of "Seventy-Five Years of Glencoe History, 1835-1944)", a booklet published by the Glencoe Historical Society.

Glencoe Public library had its beginning in 1909 when with a nucleus of books from the Woman's Library club, the Glencoe school and the Congregational church, it opened in one room of the old Central school. Miss Sarah S. Hammond, who was teaching in the elementary school at that time, was made the first librarian and continued in this capacity until her retirement in 1935. To honor her many years of faithful and able service to the community, the second floor assembly room in the new building was named for her and marked with a suitable bronze plaque.

On August 1. 1912. because of its growing size, the library was moved lo the second floor of the Village hall where it remained until 1929. As the Village then required this space for its various departments, the Library board acquired the property at the corner of Greenleaf and Hazel avenues known as the "Hawthorn school." This building had originally been erected for the Woman's Library club. In this location the library continued until the opening of its new building on July 13. 1941.

In 1917, with wise foresight, the Library board with proper approval from the Village board, levied the sum of $97,500 spread over a period of fifteen years, to acquire a suitable site and erect a fitting library building. Fortunately, at this time the William H. Johnson residence covering the property bounded by Park avenue, Glencoe road and Hazel avenue, was placed on the market and Mr. Johnson, always a public-spirited citizen, was particularly anxious that it be acquired by the Village as a future community center. The Library board purchased the property for $54.900, which sum was made available by the Chicago Title and Trust company, after 169 Glencoe residents had guaranteed one thousand dollars each (or its repayment. The sum, however, was repaid in yearly installments out of the original levy spread over fifteen years.

Presents Homelike Atmosphere

By 1938, the board felt that the quarters in the building at Green-leaf and Hazel avenues were becoming entirely too cramped to longer serve the library demands for the increased growth of the village. The board resolutely set to the task of erecting a new building on the Johnson property and as a result the present edifice was opened to the public on July 13. 1941. Its simple Georgian lines and homelike atmosphere and its central location have made it a pleasant and accessible center for the cultural life of the community. A bond issue of $37,500 was made available by the Village board and this sum with what remained of the original levy and its accretions was sufficient to defray the entire cost of the building and us furnishings. To this was added a trust fund left by Mr. William H. Johnson for the development of the property for community purposes, amounting by 1941 to somewhat over $5.000. Part of this sum was used for the furnishing of the main reading room which was named in Mr. Johnson's honor and properly marked with a bronze plaque. The board still holds title to the property at Greenleaf and Hazel, without any incumbrances and when this can be sold, the proceeds are to be devoted to the retirement of the bond levy. The Library board also holds in trust for the best uses of the community the south portion of the Johnson property and on which at some future date it may be found desirable to erect a new Village Hall.

The Glencoe Public library is administered by a Board of six members, two of whom are elected every other year for terms of six years at the regular Village elections in April. The staff has grown to four members, all trained library workers, and consisting at present of Miss Helen Beckwith. librarian, and as assistants, Mrs. Agnes W. Mitchell. Miss Britomarte Eastin and Miss Mertice E. Schmidt. Today, library facilities include reading rooms, a children's room, a young people's alcove, stacks, assembly rooms, small conference rooms, an auditorium, office, work rooms and a sun deck. The resources of the Library include 25,000 volumes, picture and pamphlet files and subscriptions of 116 current magazines and newspapers.