The inauguration of the Lyons Public
Library could be attributed to Mrs. Ruth Ingalls Mitch, a civic
with the cooperation of several local school teachers. The prominent woman
the village needed a lending library and, in approximately 1936,
collected a few books and opened a
library in her home. This arrangement proved
to be so successful that a need was soon realized for
The Council Room of the Village Hall was
chosen as the new location of the Lyons Library on
February 15, 1938. Mr. George
J. Stupka was appointed chairman of the Library Committee by
Members of the W. P.A., along with Mrs. Mitch collected 700 books and 1,500
donated by the U. S. Government.
Shortly after this, the Stupka Committee used
the services of the W.P.A. to partially finance their needs. The Administration
offered to help in establishing a library providing the library board conform to
An official Library Board was formed in 1939
with the following members: George J. Stupka, President
Dr. Beryl Ingalls - Leo
P. Meyer - A. 0. Diersen – Paul A. Graunke - and Miss Maud Stubbings.
The W.P.A. discontinued their services in
1941, and the library was forced to close its doors. This was a temporary state,
however, and a store front was rented a short time later at 4112 Joliet
Avenue - - The library was in business once again. At this time, Mrs. Elsie Stednitz was hired as Librarian at the rate of fifty cents an hour. The library
was usually opened an hour in the afternoon and an hour and a half in the
The library became tax supported in 1945 when
the people voted for a referendum which allowed the village to levy taxes to
support the library.
The store front building was bought in
1954 and the wall dividing the store front from the back of the building was
torn down. The entire building then became available to the library.
New shelves were purchased to hold books on
the second landing, and used tables were also
purchased for reference purposes.
The number of books checked out that year was 15,151.
By 1962, the library's collection had outgrown
its home. Four and a half lots where bought in December
of 1962, south of
White Avenue, on Joliet Avenue, for future expansion. A referendum was
in November of 1964 for the building of a new library. Construction
began in 1965 and the building
was opened to the public on August 22, 1966. The old library was sold to the American Legion on
November 8, 1966.
An Open House and dedication of the new
building was held on April 9, 1967 by the architect Eugene E.
builder was A. H. Viren & sons, landscaping was done by Kovel Landscaping Service
and the furnishings came from Herman Miller, Inc. and Carson, Pirie
Scott & Co. The library received
an award in 1967 from the Chicago
Lighting Institute for its excellent lighting.
The Lyons Public Library took a great leap
forward on October 29, 1977 , when it joined the Suburban
Library System (SLS). Through SLS member libraries are able to borrow from each other collections,
which greatly expands the borrower's lending capabilities.
A computer agreement was signed with SLS on
October 17, 1983, and the library staff began entering
every book, periodical
and audiovisual item on the computer in January 1984. On September 10, 1985,
library went on line for circulation.
The Lyons Public Library has grown
tremendously form its humble beginnings in Mrs. Mitch's home in
is as up to date as possible with current funding. Realizing the
importance of continued growth,
the Board of Trustees placed a referendum on the
ballot in April 1987, asking for an increase in the tax
levy for the library.
Unfortunately, the referendum failed and the levy was not increased.
budgeting, the collection has been kept as current as possible,
although additional services and
improvements have been put on hold for the time
being. The Board hopes that the Village will soon
be ready for a
small tax increase for the library in the near future.
1. Benedetti, Rose Marie and Virginia C. Bulat.
Portages, Pioneers, and Pubs,Copyright 1963.
2. Benedetti, Rose Marie. Village on the River 1888-1988, Copyright
List of Library Board of Trustees - Past and Present
Library Directors - Past and Present