Montgomery County Illinois History

Hillsboro Public Library - Hillsboro IL

Hillsboro Public Library – Hillsboro Illinois

The HILLSBORO Public Library, (2-9 except Wed., 2-6, and Sat. 2-8:30) at School and Rountree streets, has 9,105 Volumes of fiction and non-fiction for both junior and adult readers. Books are free to residents of Hillsboro and to all school students; non-residents pay a small fee.

It might be said that the Hillsboro library had its inception in 1858 when postmaster Joseph Rolston kept a small collection of books which he proposed to use as a circulating library. However, definite action for a library did not crystallize until 1895, when a meeting was called to plan for the establishment of a "Reading Room and Library." J. J. Phillips, Amos Miller, George Cooper, W. H. North, Charles A. Ramsey, George Walter. Mrs. Fred Noterman. Mrs. C. W. Bliss, Mrs. H. H. Keithley, and Mrs. Arthur Cole were elected directors. Space in the Corner Block Building was donated by John M. Whitehead, and the reading room was officially opened to the public on October 10. 1895.

In 1896 the city council assumed partial control of the library. In 1903 the citizens of Hillsboro voted to accept Andrew Carnegie's gift of $10,000 for a library building. Selection of a building site brought on considerable discussion among members of the library board and members of the city council. There was strong sentiment for placing the new library on a lot in Tillson Place but after some controversy it was decided to build on the site donated by John M. Whitehead.

The new building, a reproduction of the old Hillsboro Academy, was designed by Paul G. Moratz of Bloomington. I. M. Garthwait was the contractor, H. B. McCoy the superintendent of construction. The library was opened to the public on March 18 1905, with a musical program in the afternoon and evening.

At the entrance of the building Is a bronze tablet on which is inscribed:

Andrew Carnegie, Building Gift, $10,000—1904.

Site Gift, John M. Whitehead.

Board of Directors:

  • Carrie M. Howell, President
  • George A. Walter, Secretary
  • Nettle T. Douglas
  • Anna Chacey
  • Anna W. Bixler
  • Larkin G. Tyler

Building committee: C. A. Ramsey, Amos Miller, C. H. Witherspoon.

Miss Ottie Gannon served as librarian in the old Reading Room until August 30, 1899, when she was succeeded by Miss Ada Gilmore. Miss Bertha Welge served from January 1, 1900, until the World War, when she was employed in the offices of the railroad company. Miss Jessie Best and Miss Jennie Hayes were librarians until December 1, 1921, when Miss Welge resumed the position until a short time before her death on December 10, 1924. Miss Lois Lyerla was librarian until 1939, when she resigned and was succeeded by the assistant librarian. Earl Rush.

Present members of the library board are:

  • H. J. Beckemeyer.
  • Mrs. A. M. Howell.
  • O. M. Hampton.
  • Miss Ida Truitt.
  • Miss Esther Challacombe.
  • Chester Guthrie
  • Mrs. J. E. Y. Rice.
  • Mrs. Walter McLean.
  • Mrs. Edward Fellis.

Taken from: “Hillsboro Guide” 1940

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