Decatur Public Library

130 North Franklin Street
Decatur, IL 62523


In 1867 a small group of women called the Ladies Library Association inspired the birth of the Decatur Free Public Library in 1875. The first Library board contained the names of many men who still have standing legacies in Decatur, including William A. Barnes. However, a provision in the board's governing laws dictated that a third of the board be comprised of women.

Women have inspired the growth of the Library throughout its existence. One woman who made great contributions was Alice Glore Evans. Mrs. Evans' husband, Richard L. Evans, accepted the post of the first city librarian of the Decatur Public Library in 1875. In his first written report to the board, Mr. Evans noted, "Indeed, since the first week of the opening, I have been obliged to have my wife's assistance every evening." Working beside her husband day and evening, Mrs. Evans was an invaluable asset to the Library. Upon her husband's death in 1881, Mrs. Evans was named his successor.

For more than 50 years, Mrs. Evans served the Decatur Public Library. Under her administration, the circulation of the Library continued to increase, outreach services at local schools were developed, and the Alice G. Evans branch library was constructed. Her friends and community members remember her as being cheerful, kind, and courteous. Many shared fond memories upon her death in 1926. One particular note captured the essence of who Mrs. Evans was and what she meant to the Library.

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