Lyons Public Library
4209 Joliet Avenue
Lyons, Il 60534-1597
Phone 708.447.3577
Fax 708.447.3589

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Library History

The inauguration of the Lyons Public Library could be attributed to Mrs. Ruth Ingalls Mitch, a civic
minded citizen, with the cooperation of several local school teachers. The prominent woman decided
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
larger accommodations.

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
Mayor Nelson. Members of the W. P.A., along with Mrs. Mitch collected 700 books and 1,500
were 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 their requirements.

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 evening.

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 passed
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.
Cook. The 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,
the library went on line for circulation.

The Lyons Public Library has grown tremendously form its humble beginnings in Mrs. Mitch's home in
1936. It 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. Through careful
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. 

Taken from:
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 1988.

List of Library Board of Trustees - Past and Present

Library Directors - Past and Present


Lyons Public Library
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Revised 04/24/2013                ©Lyons Public Library 2001