Mount Prospect Public Library

Mount Prospect Public Library
Mount Prospect Public Library
Established 1930
Location Mount Prospect, Illinois
Size 443,200
Other information
Director Marilyn Genther

The Mount Prospect Public Library is a public library located in Mount Prospect, Illinois, USA.




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1930 – The first Library was established by the Mount Prospect Woman's Club. Consisting of one tier of shelves holding about 300 books, the collection was located in the one-room Central School at the corner of Main Street and Central Road and was staffed by volunteers from the Woman's Club.

1932 The Library moved to the old Mount Prospect State Bank building on the northeast corner of Busse and Main Streets. The Mount Prospect Woman's Club was still in charge but employed Mrs. Irma Schlemmer, who was permitted to keep the Library open eight hours a week.

1943 A referendum was passed enabling the foundation of a tax supported Village Library. The

1940 population was 1,710—by 1943 it probably was about 3,000. The young Library received much assistance from the Chicago Public Library in the form of professional suggestion, furniture and books. Chicago Public gave the Library 1,000 books for $200 per year, which it then returned to us to enable the purchase of children's books. This help continued for twenty years.

1944 The Library moved to a paint store at 115 South Main Street as it was the only store open at night.

1950 The first Library building was erected at 14 East Busse Avenue on land purchased with money--$25,000—donated by organizations and from individual gifts. A bond referendum for $35,000 was approved. The 2,450-square-foot (228 m2) building served a population of 4,009. This building was torn down to make way for the Village Hall in 2002.

1961 In March 1961, a bond issue of $198,000 authorized an addition to the Library.

1962-1965, two additions were made to the building, tripling the floor space.

1962 The Library received .00854 cents per $100 assessed valuation to provide for a population that by 1963 had reached 22,945 (1960 population 18,906). The collection consisted of about 20,000 books.

1966 Voters approved a bond issue for further expansion, which increased the size to 12,000 square feet (1,100 m2), and revenue was increased to .01150 cents per $100 assessed valuation. An adjacent parking lot was purchased by the Library. A campaign was begun by the Library Board of Directors and Library supporters to acquire rights to the Central School property, where the present Library building now stands. The population was 30,200.

1974 The population had risen to 46,525 when the Village Board of Trustees voted in September to purchase the 2.6-acre (11,000 m2) Central School property as a site for a new Library building and approved the expenditure of $3.2 million for construction of a new building.

1975 The Groundbreaking Ceremony was held on April 19, during National Library Week. The Library was to be 45,000 square feet (4,200 m2) and to include a 125-seat Meeting Room. Architect: Wendt, Cedarholm and Tippens, Inc. Actual construction began on July 7. The Library by this time was receiving only .0126 cents per $100 assessed valuation, the lowest of any library in the northwest suburbs.

1976 It was found in March that the Library would cost $225,000 more than the original estimate, largely because of a sprinkler and larger ventilation systems. The building by this time was expected to cost $3.45 million. In 1976, the Library was receiving .01500 cents per $100 assessed valuation. The new Library opened its doors December 6,

1976 The automated circulation system went online. An Open House was held on December 12.

1977 On January 23, 1977, the formal dedication was held with Ralph Newman, noted Abraham Lincoln scholar and then president of the Board of Trustees of the Chicago Public Library, as guest speaker. On October 1, a referendum to raise the tax levy to .02840 cents per $100 assessed valuation and to approve an $850,000 bond issue for purchasing new books over a five-year period failed. The population served had reached 51,974.

1978 In April, Mayor Carolyn Krause appointed a seven-member Citizens Panel to study methods of improving communications between the Village and the Library and to study the possibility of the Library's becoming a department of the Village. The advisory committee decided against the latter suggestion and made several proposals, among which was that a referendum be held to raise the tax levy to .03000 cents per $100 assessed valuation.

1979 A referendum to increase the tax levy to .02300 cents per $100 assessed valuation passed on November 10.

1982 The Library serves a population of 52,634 with a collection of 135,031 volumes.

1986 The Library serves a population of 52,634 with collection of 174,000 volumes and circulation of 580,000 items. A long-range plan, "Blueprint for Excellence", was developed in 1985 and was implemented. A space study was completed and an architect was hired to begin expansion drawings.

1987 The Board of Library Trustees went before the voters in April and November 1987 to request additional funding for the operations budget and for funds to remodel the existing building and construct a 50,000-square-foot (4,600 m2) addition. The funding requests were defeated.

1988 Following the loss of two funding referenda library hours were decreased from 79 to 64 hours per week. With special funds from the Village of Mount Prospect, Sunday hours from 12-5 were restored bringing the total hours open to 69 per week. Reciprocal borrowing restrictions were implemented and charges for certain services and materials were instituted. A Long Range Plan 1989-1991 was adopted.

1990 The Library applied for and received the designation as a Federal Depository Library when the Northwest Municipal Conference who previously had the designation moved to a new location.

1991 The Library’s Administrative Offices were moved to the second floor of the building. The Reader’s Advisory service was begun. A drive-up book drop was installed. The music file housing the Blaine Music Collection was completed

1992 Marilyn Genther was appointed Executive Director of the Library. The number of reference transactions in adult and youth departments increased significantly as did total circulation. Financial and space constraints became critical.

1993 The Library celebrated its 50th anniversary. Circulation of audiovisual materials increased significantly. An 18 month long range planning process was completed.

1994 The Library Board sought a $15.5 million bond referendum. It did not pass. Email became an important method of staff communication. Major shifting was done to accommodate the growing collection and to provide more efficient service.

1995 The Library offered the public access to the Internet and launched its own homepage. The Library's print collection passed the 300,000 volumes mark. The Library Board again sought a $9.5 million bond referendum but it did not pass.

1996 The Library received the ILA/Highsmith Innovative Award for the Teen/Senior Computer Tutor program. Access to the World Wide Web was made available to the public through the graphical browser Netscape. All the audiovisual materials were moved to the Adult Services area. The collection included 364,978 items.

1997 The Mount Prospect Public Library Foundation was established. Large scale shifting was done to make room for the collection, especially audiovisual materials. 30% of total materials circulated were audiovisual. Public computer use increased 90%. A vendacard system for printing from public terminals was installed as was an Internet software filter.

1998 The Library’s Internet connection was upgraded to a T1 line. MPPL also became part of a system-wide local history materials digitizing program. The impact of the Internet on Reference services began to be felt. Government documents increasingly were being distributed electronically.

1999 All systems were upgraded to comply with Y2K. The Library’s homepage averaged 34,124 hits per month. The Collection Management department was created. Over 615,000 items circulated, a decrease from previous years. A special monthly program for senior citizens was initiated. Use of the public computer stations in Adult Services increased 90%.

2000 The Library’s lobby and Circulation and Registration Desks were renovated. The 20th Anniversary of the Teddy Bear Walk was celebrated. Over 161,000 questions were answered in person, by telephone, or through the Internet. The collection numbered over 426,000 items serving a population of 56,265 residents.

2001 New service desks were installed in the Adult Services and Youth Services departments. New audiovisual shelving was installed. “Library Life,” the local library cable TV program, was revamped. Circulation increased for the first time in four years totaling almost 653,000 items. Over 48,000 Mount Prospect residents had library cards.

2002 A $20.5 million referendum was passed on March 19. Plans for the renovated library building were drawn up. The Library moved to temporary quarters at 852 Feehanville Drive in the Kensington Business Center.

2003 A Beam Raising ceremony was held on April 11 to mark the start of construction on the Emerson building. Construction on the building continued throughout the rest of the year. All programs and services were provided at the Feehanville building. The Library migrated to a new library automated circulation system. The 60th Anniversary of the library was celebrated in September. Annual circulation was 612,649 items with a total collection of 433,906 items.

2004 Construction of the library building on Emerson Street was completed. The Library moved back to its permanent home in August. It opened to the public in September.

2005 Patrons can use WiFi to connect to the Internet. Circulation hit an all time high of 802,000. A new electronic book and audio book service was started called My Media Mall.

2006 Two commissioned artworks were purchased and placed: Youth Duck Bench and four pieces of Raku pottery. The walls of the lower lobby stairwell were designed to have historic photos of Mount Prospect and famous quotations. Annual checkouts reached an all time high of 817,620 items. The collection totaled 468,263. Library Life was awarded the prestigious Telly Award. The photo of the Library's entrance graced the cover of the Sirsi/Dynix international calendar. Ask Away a national virtual reference service was offered. The Library was the recipient of a very generous donation to purchase and make available a complete collection of the Teaching Company, Great Courses materials.

2007 The redesign of the Library's web page, was launched. Preview, the library newsletter format was totally revamped. It is now an eight page tabloid with more room for articles. Several pieces of art were added this year: Peace Sculpture by Krik Blome on the northeast corner of the library land; two Turkish rugs and paintings, gifts of the Niagara Foundation; Celestial 2 painting by Sam Evans; the whimsical TetraFoil mobile by Marc Ricketts. New collections added: Playaways, De Filipps Collection (a donation of all the Great Courses). Library Life again was awarded the prestigious Telly Award.

2008 - Internet was upgraded to a 10M fiber circuit; major all day training session for staff on Web 2.0 application for library use and the beginning of Wikis as a form of communication for committees and departments; new collections this year included videogames for youth and teens, teen non-fiction graphic novels, elementary textbooks; Live Homework Help subscription was instituted; Library brand was developed – Mount Prospect Public Library Explore the Opportunities; new artwork – an acrylic contemporary work by Paul Sable mounted in Youth Services and a series of hand woven metal compositions by David Paul Bacharach mounted along the north wall of the second floor.


  • [About Us - History]. Mount Prospect Public Library. Retrieved on 2008-06-09.

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