Seneca Public Library District

210 North Main Street
Seneca, IL 61360


About Us:

The public library in Seneca first opened its doors in 1937 as a WPA project. It occupied a small room in what was then the Masonic Building, later to become the Community State Bank. A total of 484 books, many of which were “weeds” from the Chicago and Evanston public libraries, circulated to 189 registered borrowers. Miss Lois Zimmerman served the community as its first librarian until 1945.

In 1987, the board was successful in forming the Seneca Public Library District. The town was now planning for the present library: it approved a referendum to annex property; the library began surveys of patrons and reviews of building programs and financing; the board hired architects Frye, Gillan and Molinaro, and in 1989, the town approved another referendum to buy land and finance construction for a 9,450-square-foot library.

As the Seneca Public Library District enters the 21st century, its relatively small size is deceptive. Automated in 1991, it now offers public computers, wireless access, an online library catalog with home access, unlimited interlibrary loan through its membership with the Prairie Area Library System (PALS) and from outside the system, and a range of children’s and adult services and programming. The library is open 56 hours a week, owns more than 57,000 items, attracts nearly 1,800 visitors and provides over 4,000 services per month, and spends more than $628,665 to provide modern, friendly service to its almost 3,700 cardholders. Despite its small size, the library is a “net lender,” that is, it supplies patrons of other libraries with more materials (900 in a typical month) than it borrows (200 in a typical month) from other libraries. Overall, the library circulates approximately 56,500 items every year. The library Board of Trustees and the Director Wendy Xie place high priority on two elements of modern public library service: 1) providing old-fashioned friendly service to every person who walks in the library’s doors and 2) providing modern technology to enhance the lifestyle of this quiet rural community.

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