Library History


  • Attributed with the inauguration of the Lyons Public Library, Mrs. Ruth Ingalls Mitch, a civic minded citizen, with the cooperation of several local school teachers, decides the village needs a lending library; the prominent woman collects a few books and opens a library in her home. This arrangement proves to be so successful that a need is soon realized for larger accommodations.


  • February 15thThe Council Room of the Village Hall is chosen as the new location of the Lyons Library. Mr. George J. Stupka is appointed chairman of the Library Committee by Mayor Nelson. Members of the W. P.A., along with Mrs. Mitch, collect 700 books and 1,500 are donated by the U. S. Government.


  • Shortly after this, the Stupka Committee uses the services of the W.P.A. to partially finance their needs. The Administration offers to help in establishing a library providing the library board conform to their requirements. An official Library Board is formed 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. discontinues their services and the library is forced to close its doors. This is a temporary state, however, and a store front is rented a short time after at 4112 Joliet Avenue – – The library is in business once again.


  • The library becomes tax supported when the people vote for a referendum which allows the village to levy taxes to support the library.


  • At this time, Mrs. Elsie Stednitz is hired as Librarian at the rate of fifty cents an hour. The library is usually open an hour in the afternoon and an hour and a half in the evening.


  • The store front building is bought and the wall dividing the store front from the back of the building is torn down. The entire building becomes available to the library. New shelves are purchased to hold books on the second landing, and used tables are also purchased for reference purposes. The number of books checked out this year is 15,151.


  • Joan Goettler takes over as Head Librarian.


  • DecemberBy this time, the library’s collection has outgrown its home. Four and a half lots are bought south of White Avenue, on Joliet Avenue, for future expansion.


  • NovemberA referendum is passed for the building of a new library.


  • August 22ndConstruction begins and the building is opened to the public. Two and half months later, the old library is sold to the American Legion.

1967 – 1977

  • Dorothy Nesbitt becomes Head Librarian, which she holds for a decade.


  • April 9thAn Open House and dedication of the new building is held by the architect, Eugene E. Cook. The builder is A. H. Viren & sons, landscaping is done by Kovel Landscaping Service and the furnishings come from Herman Miller, Inc. and Carson, Pirie Scott & Co. The library later receives an award from the Chicago Lighting Institute for its excellent lighting.


  • October 29thThe Lyons Public Library takes a great leap forward when it joins the Suburban Library System (SLS). Through SLS, member libraries are able to borrow from each other’s collections, which greatly expands the borrower’s lending capabilities.


  • Diana Snell becomes Head Librarian.


  • October 17thA computer agreement is signed with SLS and the library staff begins entering every book, periodical and audiovisual item on the computer in January 1984.


  • Winifred Koukol takes the position of Head Librarian, which she holds until 1992.


  • September 10thThe library goes on line for circulation.


  • AprilRealizing the importance of continued growth, the Board of Trustees places a referendum on the ballot asking for an increase in the tax levy for the library. Unfortunately, the referendum fails and the levy is not increased.


  • Linda Jourdan accepts the position of Head Librarian, which she holds for five years.


  • Winifred Koukol steps in once again as Head Librarian.


  • Denise E. Ard takes the position of Head Librarian, which she holds until the year 2000.


  • At the turn of the new millennium, Sarah Horn becomes Head Librarian.


  • Daniel M. Powers takes over as Head Librarian.


  • Dan Hilker takes over as Library Director.


  • The Lyons Public Library has grown tremendously from its humble beginnings in Mrs. Mitch’s home in 1936. It is as up to date as possible with current funding. 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.

Content Derived 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.