Gurnee History - Warren Newport Public Library



1835-1927 | 1928-1975 | 1976-Present | Timeline
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In March 1961 the Lions Club indicated an interest in establishing a Library District.

In 1968 the Village received a $2500 bequest from the Lamb Estate for a Library Fund. It was turned over to the Warren Newport Library when the Library was established.

At an Executive Board meeting on the Gurnee Women's Club on May 27, 1971, it was agreed that their Community Project would be an effort to provide Library Services to this growing area. Knowing this project would be costly, their first step was planning a fund raising affair - "A Christmas Bazaar." The community backed this event making it a huge success, putting $1,250.00 into a special Library Fund Account. Meanwhile, the pros and cons of a village library vs. a township library, volunteer vs. a tax-supported library, bookmobile, branch, or an established library were discussed.

On March 21, 1972, the Woman's Club learned it would be possible for the North Suburban Library System to request Project Plus Funds from the Illinois State Library. With this encouragement they held their first meeting on July 25, 1972. Members were:Chairman, Mrs. Robert Russell, Gurnee; Vice-Chairman, Mrs. Arthur Page, Wadsworth; Secretary, Mrs. Gerald Keefe, Gurnee; Treasurer, George Green, Wadsworth; Mrs. Murray Conzelman, Old Mill Creek; Mrs. Claus Gruner, Grandwood Park; Russell Vick and Paul Brandburg, Wildwood/Gages Lake; and Richard Welton and Vernon Gowe, Gurnee. Their duties were to secure funds, fix boundaries, set-up a library demonstration with card registrations, rent bookmobile service, organize volunteers to process books, set up children programs of films and story hours and rent a store-front facility to house the library in the bank building.

Warren Newport Public Library

With a full-time librarian, two part-time assistants, and many volunteers, doors opened on January 10, 1973. The demonstration period lasted until April 28, 1973 when the public voted yes to establish a tax-supported district. On June 11 1973, seven members from the special library committee, listed above, were appointed by the Lake County Board to become trustees for the Warren-Newport Public Library District Board. Within three months the Board leased additional adjoining space in the Gurnee National Bank building to increase the library's original capacity. With a Community Room now available, children programs were expanded; civic groups held meetings there; a "Friends of the Library" group was organized which sponsored family films, crafts and coffee programs, plus fund raising projects to buy fixtures and furnishings for the Library. In October of 1974, the newly purchased bookmobile was put into operation with stops serving the outlying areas: Wadsworth, Bonnie Brook, Park City, Grandwood Park, Druce Lake, Wildwood, Gages Lake, and Arbor Vista.

Under the direction of Mrs. Ruth Dixon and Miss Ruth Gregory, one major project was securing and publishing the "History of Warren Township" written by Edward Lawson.

In 1974 the Library received the Illinois Library Association All-Star Award, awarded on the basis of community involvement and support of the Library.

The Board had a lease on the facilities until September, 1977. Finding no rental building available in the area, the Board decided to go for a referendum in March, 1976, for bonds to purchase land and erect a new building. On the third attempt, the referendum passed in March, 1977.

Construction was begun in July, 1977. With a two month extension on the lease, the Library continued operating in the bank building until the end of November. It was then necessary to move so the Library set up a limited operation in their unfinished building by moving into their lobby and community room. January, 1978, finally found the new library, 12,000 square feet, including the McCullough Community Room seating 150 people, opening its doors to the public.

In November 1997, the Library opened a 31,000 square foot addition making the total size of the facility 54,000 square feet. At the time of the expansion the Library had 8 full-time and 3 part-time Professional Librarians and 13 full-time and 46 part-time Support Staff personnel. For the fiscal year 1996-1997 the Library had 41,610 registered borrowers and an annual circulation of 751,000 with a collection size of 131,000 items.

For further Library information, visit the Warren Newport Public Library website

The Village of Gurnee / History / Library / Last Revised 05/04/08