The Cook Memorial Public Library District (CMPLD) serves nearly 60,000 residents in north-central Lake County, Illinois, covering Green Oaks, Indian Creek, Libertyville, Mettawa, and portions of Mundelein and Vernon Hills. The library regularly ranks as one of the busiest in the state.
Local library service began in 1909 when the Alpha Club (now the Libertyville Woman’s Club) began a subscription library. The local drugstore, Decker and Bond, housed the collection beginning in 1910. The growing collection found a new home in the Libertyville Village Hall in 1914.
In 1920, the home and property of Ansel Brainerd Cook were donated to the village of Libertyville for library and park purposes. The library took Cook’s name when it opened in 1921 as Cook Memorial Library at the Cook House in the heart of downtown Libertyville.
In 1924, oversight of the library was transferred from the Village Library Board to the newly formed Township Library Board.
In 1966, Libertyville voters approved a $450,000 referendum to fund a new library building. In 1968, a new 28,000-square-foot building was constructed behind the Cook House. The Libertyville Township Library Board was dissolved in 1973 with the formation of the Cook Memorial Public Library District. Shortly thereafter, parts of northern Vernon Township in Vernon Hills were annexed into the library district.
As the population served by CMPLD continued to grow, library space became crowded. By 1996, the library district’s population was more than 47,000 and its annual circulation was more than one million items. Three unsuccessful referenda for expansion left the district’s building cramped and the growing southern part of the library district underserved.
In 2002, then serving a population of more than 58,000, CMPLD entered into an agreement with the Village of Vernon Hills to rent space in the lower level of its Village Hall on Evergreen Drive. The Evergreen Interim Library operated from 2003–10.
In 2007, the CMPLD board adopted a $14-million expansion proposal calling for the construction of a new 20,000-square-foot library on Aspen Drive in Vernon Hills and the addition of a new 11,000-square- foot children’s wing as well as renovations to Cook Park Library in Libertyville. Both projects were financed without raising taxes. The new Aspen Drive Library opened on July 10, 2010. The renovated and expanded Cook Park Library reopened on January 8, 2011.