Park Ridge Public Library

Park Ridge Public Library

The Park Ridge Public Library serves residents and businesses of the village of Park Ridge, Illinois. Park Ridge is a northwest suburb of Chicago. The library serves a population of 37,775 residents [ [ Park Ridge city, Illinois - Fact Sheet - American FactFinder ] ] and is located at 20 S. Prospect Ave, Park Ridge, IL 60068 in the Uptown neighborhood. The purpose of the Park Ridge Public Library is to advance human knowledge and understanding by providing access to information, literature, technology, and the arts relevant to the community it serves. [ [ Park Ridge Public Library Library Mission And Technology Statement ] ]


In the early 20th century, Scotch-born steel tycoon and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie was making grants available through the Carnegie Foundation to establish libraries. On June 10, 1910, a civic committee, part of the Park Ridge Woman's Club, met to form a library board in the home of Mrs. J.H. Collins. Robert Baird was appointed chairman and Mrs. Clara E. Miller was named treasurer. Mrs. C E. Boening, the secretary, was instructed to write Carnegie a letter requesting a grant to build a library building. A letter was also sent to the City of Park Ridge for approval of the and a request for an annual budget of 10% of the initial grant for salaries, maintenance and acquisition of books. Later on in 1910, Carnegie approved the initial $5,000 grant and, after an appeal was made to increase the amount, the grant was increased to $7,500. [Orvis Jordan, "A History of Park Ridge." (Park Ridge: George L. Scharringhausen Jr., 1961)45.]

Building began in 1912 when Building committee members John Paulding, J. A. Schulkin, Sr. and J W. Pattison appointed Pond and Pond as architect. In 1913, the new Park Ridge Public Library opened its doors for 10 hours per week. A thousand books were donated to the new library by the George Carpenter Estate. The total book collection consisted of 2,072 volumes. ["First Public Library Opened Late in 1913." "Park Ridge Herald Advocate." January 9, 1958] Ruth Coleman was the first paid librarian from 1913-1920. In December 1920, Miss Frances Holbrook was appointed to replace her and served as head librarian until 1958.

In 1923 Library hours were expanded from 10 to 15 hours per week The hours were: 2:00 - 5:00 and 7:00 - 9:00 on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. In 1924, the tradition of a Summer Reading Club for children began and has continued every summer since. [Kate Hogan, "Carnegie Grant Helped Build Public Library," "Park Ridge Herald Advocate" 17 July 2003: 75.]

Beginning in 1932, Library hours were extended to 61 per week. Then in 1936, during the "Great Depression," the Library was and redecorated by Civil Works Administration city workers. Shortly after in 1937, a branch library was established at 620 Devon Avenue with Betty Hart hired as branch librarian. ["The Old Carnegie Library 1913-1958" "The Spokesman" March 1988: 7. ]

In 1940, a record collection was added with "Big Band" and "Swing Music" the rage in music. In 1943, The Library and the South Branch made its contribution to the "Home Front". They did so by becoming deposit stations for the local Victory Books Campaign. The Victory Books Campaign collected thousands of books for service personnel in World War II.

In 1945, the Library was converted from coal to gas heat, and then in 1946, the Friends of the Library held their first meeting. But in 1949, the crowded conditions in the Library forced the South Branch of the Library to be moved to a new location, Roosevelt School. Meanwhile, conditions in the Main Library building were inadequate to meet the demands of a growing population. The Friends were instrumental in promoting the need for a new library building. They worked tirelessly to get a referendum approved for a $350,000 bond issue for a new public library. The referendum passed.

Ground was finally broken for the new building in 1956. The site was the former location of the Old Central School which the City had purchased in 1950. A $350,000 bond issue won approval in a referendum on June 7, 1956. ["$1,000,000 Bond Issues Win Library Issue by 328 Votes" "Park Ridge Herald" 12 January 1956: 1. ] The new Library was dedicated in January 1958, and in 1959, with increased facilities at the new Library, the branch library was closed.

In September 1961, acting head librarian William C. Massey was officially named head librarian. Two months later, Miss Frances Holbrook was honored at a dinner at the Library for her 41 years of service. But then in 1962, Alden Wilson replaced William Massey as head librarian.

In 1966, the North Suburban Library System (NSLS) was formed as a means of expanding library materials and services. This regional library system represented 22 north and northwest suburban public libraries including the Park Ridge Public Library. During 1966, the library received a $500 gift from local American Legion Post No. 247 for the purchase of science books.

The library expanded hours to include Sunday service from September to June in 1971. On December 9, 1971, the staff of the Park Ridge Public Library, the trustees and members of the Friends of the Library paid tribute at a buffet supper to Ardith Cox Mills. Ms. Mills, children's librarian, retired after 25 years of service in the Children's Department. In 1972, the large print book collection began. The 20 titles which started this collection were purchased with funds provided by the local Lions Club.

The 1970s found the Library again cramped for space. In 1975 a bond referendum was passed and work was begun on the $1.1 million addition to the Library building. ["Library Referendum Wins!" "Park Ridge Herald" 11 December 1975.] The American colonial architecture of the 1958 structure was retained during the lengthy construction period. During construction most of the departments remained open for service. In December 1977, the new convert|18000|sqft|m2|abbr=on. addition to the Park Ridge Public Library was formally dedicated [Linda Keane "Library wing dedication scheduled this weekend" "Park Ridge Herald" 1 December 1977.] . In 1979, Barbara J. Paquette was selected as the new head librarian. [Lorraine Murray, "New Library Spirit" "Park Ridge Herald" 15 November 1979. ]

In 1981, the Children's Department held a party to unveil its new "Storytime Quilt." The quilt, composed of 42 squares made by staff members and mothers of children who attended fall sessions of Pre-School Story Time, remained on display in the Library's downstairs meeting room for many years. Also in 1981, the Friends of the Library donated an Apple II series computer to the Children's department making Park Ridge Public Library the first public library in the library system to offer a personal computer for public use. [Hogan:75] In March 1982, the Library began to switch to an automated circulation control system. The system combined 17 other northern suburban libraries in a consortium to be known as Cooperative Computer Services (CCS.) Dr. William McCully assumed the post as head librarian in November 1982. On December 12, 1982, the circulation staff began entering patron data on the new circulation system.

In 1985, the Friends of the Library donated an IBM personal computer for patron use. It was the beginning of the computer lab located in the Reader Services Department. The YA loft opened in January 1988. YA books were previously shelved on the 2nd floor. The Library underwent some interior renovation involving construction of office-area partitions. Changes were made as a result of a library-space utilization study. In November 1988, the Park Ridge Public Library observed a 75th anniversary with a piano concert on the Library's new Baldwin piano and a champagne reception.

In 1990, the Library Board presented a proposal to the City Council for an increase in the size of the Library from the current convert|36000|sqft|m2 to 55, convert|217|sqft|m2. The City Council added 1.8 million to the project to "address parking". No specific plan was proposed. A vote on a referendum to expand the Library building and "address parking" failed to win approval in a November 3, 1992 election. [Diana Marszalek, "Election Failures Force Libraries to Make Do," "Chicago Tribune" 10 November 1992: 3.] In 1995, the Library added TDD - Telecommunication Device for the Deaf. TDD is a specialized phone service for those who cannot use a standard telephone. Park Ridge Public Library unveils it's first website in May 1996. The Library website is part of the Park Ridge Community Network which also debuted online in May 1996. In 1997, new cabling was installed for a new LAN (local area network) along with new computers and peripherals. New signage telephone systems were also installed. [Doris Folkl, "Library Finds Room for Improvements," "Park Ridge Herald Advocate" 3 October 1996: 9,11.] Phase I of a furnishings upgrade was completed including new seating, tables and shelving in public areas. The Library placed an information kiosk in the lobby of the Park Ridge Community Center. Citizens can use this kiosk for community information, searching the library catalog and linking to a variety of databases. The Park Ridge Public Library teamed up with Des Plaines Public Library to offer Park Ridge citizens three new locations to make a library visit on a shared bookmobile. Each stop lasted 45 to 60 minutes. [Deborah Filipek, "Vehicle Brings the Books to You," "Park Ridge Herald Advocate" 4 February 1999: 89.] In 1998, carpeting was replaced, and Phase II of the furnishings upgrade of public areas was completed.

In 2000, Janet Van De Carr was selected by the board as the new Library Director. In the Spring, the Young Adult Loft was expanded and new wooden booths were added. In August, Northern Illinois Public Opinion Laboratory telephone survey of 500 community members surveyed about their opinion of the library and its services resulting in "PRPL Community Report on Space & Service Needs". In November 2000, the Library Board made a formal presentation to the City Council recommending a new convert|80000|sqft|m2|sing=on facility on the current parcel of land. In 2001, fire alarms throughout the Library were upgraded. The City Council on July 16, 2001 reached a consensus not to accept the recommendation of the Park Ridge Public Library Board of Directors for a new convert|80000|sqft|m2|sing=on facility. In November, the Mayor convened a Joint Committee of four City Council members and three Library Board members to further study library facility issues. That committee met regularly. CCS libraries including the Park Ridge Public Library converted to the new web-based iBistro catalog. In 2002, Bookmobile library service ended. On Monday, May 20, 2002 the City Council approved the recommendation of the Joint Committee to approve a loan of $350,000 to the Library to study the feasibility of constructing a new library and parking facilities on the existing library block. After having concluded Fiscal Year 2001/2002 the Library Board determined that this phase could be paid for with money from the Library Fund. On Friday, July 26, the Architect Selection Committee selected Nagle Hartray Danker Kagan McKay Architects Planners Ltd. as the architect to plan the Library block. The on Tuesday, July 30, 2002, the Board of Trustees approved the recommendation of the Architect Selection Committee to hire Nagle Hartray Danker Kagan McKay Architects Planners Ltd. In August 2002, Community workshops were held to gather community input. On August 19, 2002, a Citizens' group delivers November referendum petitions to Park Ridge City Clerk. On October 7, 2002, at a City Hall Council Chambers Joint Workshop City Council/Library Board Meeting with Architect Nagle Hartray Danker Kagan McKay, the architects presented conceptual designs for two options for the Library Block: 1) retail, Library and parking or 2) Library and parking. In October 2002, Joint City Council/ Library Board Workshop met to further discuss retail options for the Library Block. After much deliberation the Council was asked by Mayor Wietecha to indicate their preference for: 1)Library and retail 2)Library only 3)Retail only Though this was not a final vote nor an indication of a decision, the consensus (on this day, at this time) was to recommend the "Library only" option. (7 in favor of "Library only", 4 in favor of retail/library, 1 absentention) Many Council members expressed interest in waiting for the results of the non-binding referendum November 5 before committing their final votes regarding the options. On November 5, the non-binding referendum failed. In 2003, the Library celebrated its 90th Anniversary!


The Park Ridge Public Library has a collection of over 200,000 items with an annual circulation of over 700,00 items. They offer a variety of resources including:

*Books on Tape and CD
*Graphic Novels
*Video Games
*Computer Games
*Music Literacy Kits


The library is not only rich in resources, but also in the services offered to its residents. Each department offers a variety of service to the residents of Park Ridge.
*Reference Department
*Readers Services Department
*Young Adult Department
*Children's Department

The library is also an excellent source for free programs for adults such as:

* Art lectures
* Music performances
* Cooking demonstrations
* Theatrical presentations
* Health programs
* Feature films
* Foreign films
* Travel films


External links

* [ Park Ridge Public Library Web site]
* [ Park Ridge Public Library catalog]
* [ History of the Park Ridge Public Library]
* [ Park Ridge Community Network]
* [ City of Park Ridge]

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