The Lanark Public Library began in 1886 when forty civic minded persons each donated one dollar to form a library. It was first located over a downtown drugstore and later moved to the home of Misses Emma and Estella White at 120 S. Princess Street, where the books were accessible to the public. The books remained there until 1941 when the settling of the White estate made it necessary to move them. From 1944 to 1956 the Woman’s Club took the responsibility to fund, sponsor and staff the library. In 1956 the Library Committee of the Woman’s Club circulated petitions favoring a property tax levy and directors. September 28, 1957 marked the official opening at 110 West Locust Street. The Library remained at that location until 1972 when it moved to 124 East Carroll Street. In the spring of 1977 the library moved into the Lanark City Hall building at 110 West Carroll Street where it still resided until April 2013.
Adult Department patrons will find a variety of popular materials, as well as older fiction and thousands of useful and interesting nonfiction titles. Audio tapes, video tapes, large print books, as well as current magazines and newspapers are also available. Our helpful staff can assist patrons in finding and ordering materials by using the NILS CatT, a CD-Rom card catalog for all of the Northern Illinois Library System.
Children’s Department features children’s books, magazines, and video recordings and a Summer Reading Program. A special collection for Junior level readers features the nominations for the Rebecca Caudill award. The Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award is an annual award given to the author of the book voted most outstanding by students in grades four through eight in participating Illinois schools. The award is named in honor of Rebecca Caudill who lived and wrote in Urbana, Illinois, for nearly 50 years. The award is given in recognition of her literary talent and the universal appeal of her books which have touched the hearts of many children and young adults.
Reference & Research offers a variety of encyclopedias, indexes, handbooks in both print and electronic format. The staff will assist with “surfing” the Internet and researching other online databases for information.
Technology and Computers help us provide universal access to current information via the Internet and the World-Wide Web. The library provides three public use computers and two color printers for use by library card holders. Most of the services and equipment provided by this library have been obtained by yearly per capita grants and special grant programs offered by the IL State Library.
Donations: The Woman’s Club, Lions Club, Mother’s Club, Chamber of Commerce, and various community groups and area residents have been faithful monetary supporters since the formation of the library. Yearly, the library receives memorial donations for the purchase of special collections.
- Books – Fiction and Non-Fiction
- Large Print Books
- Encyclopedias & other Reference Materials
- Videos (no charge)
- Audio Cassettes
- Local Newspapers on Microfilm dating back to 1855
- Genealogy/ Local History Resources
- City of Lanark Code Book
- Optelec Clear View Magnifier
- Computers for Patron use
- Internet Access for the Public
- In House CD and Cassette Player
- Microfilm & Microfiche readers/printers
- Photocopying & Faxing available for small fee
- Interlibrary loan
- Information & Reference Services
- Story Hours, Summer Reading Program, & other programs for childeren
- Adult Technology Training Workshops
- Delivery of Books & other Materials to Homebound Patrons
- Assistance in enrolling in the Federal Talking Book Program
- Lanark and Carroll County maps
- Tourist Information
- Equipment and Technology for Organizations to Borrow
- Telecourses from Highland Community College
Because the Library is funded with city property tax dollars and the support of the Lanark City Council, residents may have a free family library card if they live within the city limits of Lanark or if they pay real estate taxes on city property. Identification bearing an individual’s current name and address is required. People who do not live within the Lanark city limits, do not own property in the city of Lanark, or do not have a card from another public library in Illinois may purchase a yearly family card from the Lanark Public Library. System wide cards are also available for non-residents to purchase for use at any library that is a member of the Reaching Across Illinois Library System. A non-resident card can be purchased for $50 a year per family.
Genealogy & Local History collection features history of Lanark and Carroll County , along with family Genealogies. A small collection is also maintained of bordering counties. Sources valuable to researchers include: C.C. plat maps 1869 to present, 1878, 1889, 1913, 1968 Carroll County History books, microfilm census 1840 to 1920, microfilm newspapers files from 1855 to present, Index to Carroll County Cemeteries and Burials, Lanark-Eastland Alumni Directories and yearbooks, Lanark As It Is-1901, Lanark Centennial Book 1961, Please Don’t Quote Me by Lanark author Caralee Aschenbrenner and other materials to numerous to mention. This collection does not circulate to patrons or by interlibrary loan. The Library was recently awarded a federal Library Services and Technology Grant through the IL State Library. The project called “Years Past” has a focus on local history and genealogy. A microfilm reader/printer, copier, Pentium computer, scanner, digital camera and software are some of the items already acquired for research.