Library services in Burlington were begun in 1868 when a subscription library was formed by Senator James Wilson Grimes (who contributed $5,000) and a number of other shareholders (who paid $10 per share). Those who were unable to join as shareholders were encouraged to purchase borrowing privileges for $4 annually.
The library was housed in a series of rented rooms beginning in the second floor of a building located at Main and Valley. In 1885 the city assumed full responsibility for providing library service for its residents, and the library was moved to two rooms at City Hall.
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