January 1, 1905, marked not only the start of a new year, but also the opening of Dominy Memorial Library. The initial plans for a library had actually begun shortly more than a decade before, when the Methodist Episcopal Sunday School, by sponsoring a book social that cleared $21, opened a Reading Room, open daily from 2 to 4 p.m. As the town grew, so did the demand for a public library. In 1901, Hazel Dominy, daughter of the Lorenzo B. Dominys, died after a short illness. Her father, wanting to both commemorate his daughter and benefit the city, decided to build a library. He died before plans for the building were completed, but his wife fulfilled his wishes, requesting the right to name the building and that the name never be changed. She also listed the rules by which the library would be operated. Dominy Memorial Library, at the corner of Third and Elm, a site selected by Mr. Dominy, was completed at a cost of $12,000.
Today, Dominy Memorial Library is a charitable, tax-exempt, not-for- profit organization designed to serve the needs of Fairbury and the surrounding vicinity. A resource to encourage education and to promote research, the library acts as a cultural center, housing 18,709 books. It is also home to large print books, audio books, newspapers, magazines, music cassettes, videos, bifocal kits, and art prints. Patrons have access to a fax machine, copy machine, microfilm printer-reader, genealogy materials, and the internet through two computers. The library offers a meeting room, outreach programs, children's programs, and a children's library. Currently, the roster lists 1,478 card holders.
Through the decades, charitable contributions have allowed the library to well serve Fairbury area citizens. To meet the demands of an increasingly technological-and expensive-society, the library relies even more upon the generosity of its patrons to keep it a viable and growing institution.
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