the search for a Civic Improvement Project was being sought by the
Woman’s Club in May, 1973, the club could think of no better idea than
a library. At that time,
all the town had was a library in the grade school run
two days a week during the summer months by the school teachers. With the permission of the Robinson Daily News editor, the
late Kent Lewis, it was decided to open a small reading center June 1,
1973, in the Daily News office. When
the community was approached for book donations, the donations were so
overwhelming that the opening of the reading center was held up until
September 1. Membership
cards were sold for $1 for adults and $ .50 for students.
In April, 1977 the
library became a reality when the residents of LaMotte Township approved
the LaMotte Township Library, which in 1986 became a district library
and the name changed to Palestine Public Library District.
In November of 1988 Montgomery, Precinct 2, joined the library
When another building
was needed to hold the always increasing book collection, the old Hare
Grocery on Main Street was leased from Mayor Carroll McDaniel with the
rent to go towards the purchase of the building. The building cost $6,000 and the lease was signed June 1,
1978. The library remains
in the same building and in 1995 was put on the National Historic
Register, along with 26 other buildings on Main Street.
In 1990, a new addition was built on which became the
elementary/juvenile room. In
1995, with funds from a Mary Heath grant, the library doubled the adult
bookshelf space when new metal bookshelves were installed in the adult
section and aisles were widened for handicapped accessibility.
In 1996, the library widened the restroom and installed new
fixtures to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
At this time, through a memorial gift, furniture for a reading
room was purchased. December,
1997, through Mary Heath and Silas & Ruth Claypool grants, the
library purchased new children’s bookshelves, doubling the bookshelf
space in the children’s room. A television, VCR, television cart, and other children’s
furnishings were also purchased. In
1998, with funds from an Illinois State Library grant, the library
replaced the circulation desk with a comprehensive circulation desk with
a 29” high circulation/registration module for handicapped
accessibility and blacktopped the back parking lot for patron, staff,
and handicapped parking. In
June, 2003, the library finished the project of automating the
library’s material. The
project was funded through two Mary Heath Foundation Grants, a Silas
& Ruth Claypool Foundation Grant, and a Bill & Melinda Gates
Grant. In December, 2004,
the library was awarded $2,070 to fund the project of purchasing a
website and software to make the library’s book, video and audio
collection accessible on the Internet. In June, 2009, construction
of a new library was begun at 201 S. Washington Street. The new
building has a total of 5,131 square feet, more than doubling the
previous building of 2,374 square feet. Construction was completed
April, 2010. The total cost of the building project was $767,306.
Construction was possible because of a very generous gift of $550,000
from Don & Inez Winter in 2007. With that gift, the board began
fundraisers and, thanks to our many friends, the library was able to
raise most of the remaining funds. At the time the building was
finished, the library only needed to borrow $23,000.
librarian for 26 years and Director for 21 years retired in 2012.
Her accomplishments are found in the quality of the library that she
left behind. The driving force behind the beautiful building,
shelves, furnishings, technology, programming, and the spirit of the
place all speak to the dedication, labor, and joy that came forth
through her service to the public. She will be dearly missed as
our Director but has been thankfully received as our patron.
On May 7, 2012, Laurel
Adams was hired as the new director.
On November 29, 2012, the library
joined Southern Illinois Libraries on the Go eBook lending service
through Overdrive, enabling patrons to check out ebooks and various
other electronic materials. This endeavor was due to private
donations and the Mary Heath Foundation Grant of 2012.