Our History

Work toward securing a library for Marseilles began in early 1904 when a group of interested citizens met to make plans. Members of the committee were L .T. Gardner, F. T. Neff, Rev. W .S. Fleming, and the Rev. F. Bishop. In March of that year, the city council passed a resolution to establish a public library. Mayor McIntyre then appointed the first nine-member Board of Directors.

Money for the library site was raised from private subscription by the citizens of Marseilles. Andrew Carnegie donated $10,000 for the building to be built. Building construction began in the spring of 1905. It was completed the following autumn.

Dedication ceremonies were held in the Methodist Church on the afternoon of November 23, with an evening public reception at the new library. Nineteen borrowers registered the day the library opened, with almost 700 books available for them to choose from. Of those books, a few were The Great Religions by James Freeman Clarke, Introduction To English Literature by F.V.N. Painter, The Cherry Mine Disaster by H.P. Buck and Walden, Story Of Life In The Woods by Henry D. Thoreau. These books remain in our Library to this day. By the end of the first year, the library had a collection of nearly 1,600 books, all of which were donated by individuals.

As the library collection grew and patronage increased, the original building became overcrowded. In 1929 the City Council approved plans to enlarge the library. Due to economic conditions, these plans were delayed until early 1938. Work on the annex began in June, 1938.

It was completed the following November. The remodeled building's dedication was held on January 25, 1939. It's important to note that The Marseilles Public Library is a Carnegie Library.

The first Librarian was Mrs. L. L. Fuller. There have been eight other Librarians: Miss Mary Montgomery, Mrs. Frank Fancher, Miss Lydia Bignall, Miss Florence Marsh, Mrs. Myrtle Johnson, Mrs. Marie Marcante, June Meyer and Gloria Votava. The present and tenth Librarian is Jan Ambrose.

The Marseilles Public Library operates under the state library laws which authorize the Mayor to appoint a Board of nine Directors. Our current Board of Directors: Dee Crawshaw, President; Karen Latimer, Secretary; Jeannie Gabehart, Treasurer; and Trustees Ron Blumenshine, Janice Brozovich, Julie Davis, Susan Roush, Gene Carlson and Scott Caselli (06/10/17).

The Marseilles Public Library is a member of the Reaching Across Illinois Library System ( RAILS ). The library's collection contains 22,802 books (both paper and audio), movies, and periodicals. The library is busy, circulating about 19,880 items per year.

Updated August 2019