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1894 An Idea Is Born In May of 1894 a movement was reported underway to establish a library. In asking the town to zealously carry out our New England traditions of intellectual pursuit the paper said, “this is a golden opportunity for some of our wealthy professional men or ex-legislators…to courageously step forward and endear themselves to the neighbors for this life and in the eyes of future generations yet unborn, to rear a noble monument more lasting bronze, by donating a round a thousand dollars to the “Cook (?) Library.” To make this blunt plea more poignant the item ended with, “Let the first liberal donator have the name.”1

“ ”Our town’s first “library” was a reading room opened in 1894. Though the material was not circulating, a subscriber could pay a small amount to come inside to read the latest magazines and publications. The location and history is unknown. Perhaps the reading room was lost in the Great Libertyville Fire of 1895...”1

1909 Library services began in Libertyville in 1909. “Like all important things it began with the inspiration of an individual.”3 “Mrs. Laura Schnack Taylor, one of the twenty-five charter members of the Alpha Club, conceived the idea of starting a circulating library among the members of the Club, and each member was requested to donate one new book.” 4 By 1909, Mrs. Taylor’s idea escalated into a subscription library. Each of the 100 invited members was asked to contribute one dollar a year to cover the cost of their library privileges. 4

Where did they get the books? In the late summer of 1910 a committee was appointed in the Alpha Club to investigate such matters. From Springfield, fifty books at a time could be borrowed and kept for a period of three months. The only expense would be transportation charges. The committee’s sleuthing continued to the State University where they secured nine books. An additional 180 were purchased in the first year. 4

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