History of the Library

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 A Historic Chronology
Prior to legal organizationInformal library service began when the Granite City Woman’s Club borrowed 50 books from the State Extension Library in Springfield and placed them in Anna Krug’s florist shop on Delmar Avenue, where they were circulated to the public from an old trunk.
1912March - Granite City Public Library was organized by the city council in accordance with the laws of Illinois.
First Board of Directors appointed by Mayor Kirkpatrick: Daniel J. Murphy, William F. Moore, Thomas Leyden, L.P. Frohardt, Mrs. Carrie Stewart, James T. Bamlette, John B. Judd, Mrs. Maud Champion, and Olive B. Stallings.
May – First meeting of the Board of Directors held.
December 16, 1912 – Library, located in the Judd & Gonterman building at 19 th & Delmar, opens to the public.
Miss Nina Steinhelper was the first Librarian.
The first card was issued to Mrs. Lulu Leyden.
1913Miss Lorna Griffith was selected as Librarian when Miss Steinhelper resigned to teach in the grade school.
1917Miss Griffith resigns and Mrs. Olive B. Stallings, when asked by the board, became the third Librarian. Mrs. Stallings directed the library for an incredible 41 years.
1921Library moved to the Karandjeff building on Niedringhaus Avenue across from the former post office site.
1925Resolution was passed by the city council authorizing $150,000 for a new library, to be raised by a tax levy of $15,000 each year for 10 years beginning in 1925.
1928Groundbreaking for the new library building took place on August 1, 1928. Two lots, costing $9,000, had been purchased for the building.
1929Books began to be moved from the old location to the new building on October 29, 1929.
Dedication ceremonies for the library and city hall occurred on November 6, 1929.
1936First “stimulate summer reading for children” program
1938Initiated use of an automatic book charging machine (Gaylord charging machine)
1939Began homebound services with home delivery for one patron.
1948Installation of fluorescent lighting and the construction of a Mezzanine floor occurred with renovation of the 1929 building.
1950Repair and remodeling work on the library, including construction of the mezzanine, was completed.
1952Bookmobile service began.
1958Mrs. Stallings retires and Mary Gene Knufinke becomes the fourth Librarian.
1965GCPL became a member of the Lewis & Clark Library System.
1972Robert Black becomes the fifth Head Librarian.
1974Initiated a Summer Program for area children with story hours and programs of that nature
Ray Tevis becomes the sixth Head Librarian.
1976Redecorating of the library was completed. This installation included new light fixtures, new carpet, and drapes and shades for the windows.
1978Branch library in Nameoki Village Shopping Center is opened for business.
Hired the 7 th Head Librarian, Robert Stack.
1983The Friends of the Granite City Public Library officially came into being with the first general membership meeting, held on April 17, 1983. At this meeting, officers were elected and bylaws were adopted.
Trustee Joan Yetter named Illinois Library Association Trustee of the Year.
1984The Library Board voluntarily recognized AFSCME as exclusive representative for clerical and technical library employees.
1985Accessibility modifications made to 1929 building.
1988Dedication of branch library building – 2145 Johnson Road (opened to public October 6, 1988).
1990January - Began online circulation with an automated system.
The municipal public library converted to a library district on May 1, 1990, thereby expanding the library’s official boundaries beyond the city’s boundaries for the first time.
1995Hired 8 th Librarian/Director, Lester McKiernan.
1996Public restrooms remodeled in 1929 building.
2001Demonstration library, funded by a grant, was located in Pontoon Beach.
2002Granite City Steel bankruptcy and other factors results in reduction of staff, hours, and facilities (Pontoon Beach branch closes).
2003Name changed to Six Mile Regional Library District, effective July 1
2005Migrated to a new automated online catalog with 60 other libraries.
2009-2010Repairs to grand staircase; large original windows replicated and replaced in 1929 building.
2010Hired 9 th Librarian/Executive Director, Tina Hubert.
2011Illinois Heartland Library System formed; thereby consolidating system services for southern Illinois from four systems into one.
2012Celebrated the Centennial Anniversary of the Library’s establishment through a series of yearlong events.
Received notification from Illinois State Librarian Jesse White of entitlement to receive a FY2013 Illinois Public Library Construction Act Grant.
2013Migrated to new automation catalog with 427 libraries.
Successful Bond Referendum issue to finance grant match for renovation.
Moved main library services to former Niedringhaus School building temporarily during renovation.
2014Completed $4.2 million renovation project of library’s 1929 building located at 2001 Delmar Avenue
Linda McDonnell named Illinois Library Association Trustee of the Year
2016Digitized local high school yearbooks and made them available online.
MaryJo Akeman named Illinois Library Association Trustee of the Year
Tina Hubert named Illinois Library Association Librarian of the Year
Received an East-West Gateway Council of Governments 2016 Outstanding Local Government Achievement Award as a participant in the Visual Approach to Educating the Community on Air Quality project.
2017Received a Heartlands Conservancy Building Greener Communities Award as a participant in the Visual Approach to Educating the Community on Air Quality project.

Interested in local history? Visit our digital collection, Six Miles of Local History.

2001 Delmar

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2145 Johnson

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