History of the Library

The library is one of the many libraries in the country built by Andrew Carnegie.  Mr. Carnegie gave ten thousand dollars to build the library, but he doubted if a two story library could be built for ten thousand dollars.  The Mount Carroll committee of citizens assured him they had secured a site for the library.  The library was started in 1907 and was completed in May 1908, within the ten thousand dollar budget.  Mr. Carnegie was so pleased that he sent and additional thousand dollars for the purchase of desks, chairs, tables, and book stacks.  And it was reported that Mr. Carnegie said “It is one of the few libraries I have given in which there was no graft in building.”

After the completion of the library, Miss Hass of Savanna and Mrs. Luverta Emmert classified and catalogued the one thousand two hundred and fifty books with which the library stated operating.  The cataloguing and classifying was finished in August 1908, and it was during this month that the library was opened to the public.

Prior to the building of City Hall, City Council meetings were held in the basement room of the library.

The first floor consists of books for general use and some of the daily and weekly newspapers, as well as current magazines.  The second floor has a legal library, which at intervals is used by members of the legal professions.  The law books of the late Judge Shaw are on these shelves.  Upon the death of his two daughters, Udise and Effie, sufficient funds were left to the library with which to purchase new law books from time to time.  Also on the second floor is a reference room with numerous reference books, which are used frequently by students and others.

The library has been used by organizations for different purposes.  Among these organizations are the Red Cross, County Medical Association, Girl Scouts, Christian Science Group, and it was the U. S. O. during the Second World War.

The first boards of directors were Ralph Eaton, Senior President; William Nipe, Vice President; Norman C. Smith and T. A. Wachtel, members; George D. Campbell, Treasurer; and Charles Schalle, Secretary.