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Franklin Park is very fortunate that community support for a library has existed from the beginning. The Franklin Park Library was originally formed as a project of the Franklin Park Woman’s Club. On April 15, 1899, the first book was donated. This fledgling library was housed in Wasson’s store, 9602 Franklin Ave. (the Lutz Building). It also contained a post office and a telephone exchange in addition to ice cream, cigars and other articles. The Library was located there through September 1916.
In 1925, the Woman’s Club asked the Village of Franklin Park for funds to help support the library. Members of the Woman’s Club continued to donate and purchase books until 1932, when the library was temporarily disbanded. In 1936, through the use of W.P.A. funds (Works Project Administration), the library was redeveloped. After the W.P.A. funds ceased, the Woman’s Club resumed operation of the library.
The library has had several homes in its long history. After its initial home at 9602 Franklin Ave., it was located in the old Municipal Building, 3113 Atlantic. Later in the 1940s, it moved into the old Waterworks Building, 9560 Franklin Ave. It was moved back to the Atlantic Ave. location, because the police needed the Waterworks Building while the new Municipal Building was being built. The library moved back to 9560 Franklin Ave. upon completion of the new Village Hall. In April 1941 a Village Ordinance was passed to establish and maintain a free public library and reading room in the Village of Franklin Park. The village president appointed a Board of Directors to be made up of nine members.
In April 1962, a referendum was passed giving the library tax support. A six member board was established. The library moved to a double store front, at 9618 Franklin Ave. in November 1964. In November 1967, the library joined DuPage Library System. The Library Board saw that towns and traffic patterns were developing in an east-west direction and felt it better to join a library system extending in that direction. Additionally, a smaller library system was felt to be more desirable than a larger library system.
In August 1970, the Library became a "Politically Independent Special Service District" (a library district) with an elected board of trustees, independently elected from the village board and village elections. In addition, the library would now be able to levy its own taxes. In August 1979, the Village of Franklin Park designated the Franklin Park Public Library District to be the official depository for the historical and archival records for the village.
Our new, permanent home at 10311 Grand Ave. was finished and dedicated April 1, 1984. A new children’s library and two meeting rooms were added and were dedicated on January 29, 1989. Major interior renovations were completed in 2007 and 2012.
We have many folks to thank for the wonderful library we enjoy in Franklin Park. The unnamed ladies of the Franklin Park Woman’s Club tirelessly devoted their time and energy into making the library a reality for Franklin Park. Gladyce Loebig took over the reins from the Woman’s Club, and she served as Librarian from 1941- 1961. Louise Keuck succeeded her, and faithfully administered the library from 1962-1984 and brought us into the computer age. Ida Bullen followed Ms. Keuck and was instrumental in facilitating the construction of the North Wing during her employment as Executive Director from 1984-1987. Robert Watson was Executive Director from 1987 - 2003. Marie Saeli is our current director. She started working for the library in Technical Services in 1990, became the Business Manager in 1996, and has been our Executive Director since 2003.
The library’s current collection exceeds 150,000 books, 5,800 DVDs, 5,280 video recordings, 5,300 compact discs, and 4,170 audiobooks. Our Information and Digital Services Department provides programs and services for patrons of all ages, in person and online. Our Local History Department collects and preserves materials from our past. Our Technical Services Department repairs damaged items, and prepares new library materials for loan. Our Circulation Services Department will sign you up for a new library card as well as check out and check in your library materials.
In 2011, the library became a part of RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Library System) on account of the merger of Alliance, DuPage, Metropolitan, North Suburban, and Prairie Area library systems.