White Hall Township Public Library

119 East Sherman Street
White Hall, IL 62092


History :

The White Hall Township Library Association was organized January 17, 1876 as a stock company with 52 stockholders. Great many subscribed to more than one share. Shares sold for $10.00 each and the holders were to have free access to the library. Those not having stock who wished to use the library were charged a fee of $2.50 for one year. About $800.00 was spent in purchasing books and providing the necessities for the library. The room used was the upper part of the original Peoples Bank building. The first Librarian was G.R. Adams.

There were originally 1,200 volumes on the shelves, but minimal income and lack of enforcement of library rules was not sufficient to keep it in good condition and in 1879 in only contained 625 volumes. The directors decided to close the library and give the remainder of the collection to the schools.

In 1915 at a meeting of the Round Table it was decided to start a new library. Each member of the club and any other interested person were asked to donate a book. In 1916 the library opened in a room over what then was the Post Office. Miss Nell Strang was appointed librarian. Later the library was moved to the Fox building.

The WHITE HALL TOWNSHIP LIBRARY came into being in 1917 through the people voting a half mill tax for its support, supplemented by private donations of money and books. It was under this organization that plans for a new library building were drawn and arrangements were made. Mr. & Mrs. Seth N. Griswold donated the building. Mr. Griswold said that his wife had contemplated such a building before her death and he intended to carry out the plans and specifications as nearly as possible at his own expense. The library was built of the finest quality materials at a cost of approximately $30,000. The woodwork of the entire first floor is finished in red oak. The building is 38'8" by 58'8" and is constructed of buff brick with stone trimmings. The building located on the north side of
WhitesidePark was given to the city and under the terms of the deal the City Council agreed to maintain the building rent free to the library board. It is under these terms that the library board will join in the expense of maintaining the upper floor and the city will be responsible for the rest of the building and the park. Mr. Griswold passed away before the building housed the library, so he did not see its completion.

The cornerstone of the library building was officially laid under the auspices of White Hall American Legion Post No. 70 or Armistice Day, November 11, 1922. The building was dedicated in 1926 with the speaker being General Henry D. Hamilton of Providence, R.I.

Mrs. Ethel Ross succeeded Nell Strang as Librarian. After 32 years of faithful service she retired in 1957. Miss Margaret Vermillian who had served as assistant under Mrs. Ross for 14 years was hired as Librarian. Due to failing health she retired in January 1964. In April 1964 Mrs. Ina Knight was appointed Librarian. She served for 22 years before retiring on
December 31, 1982. Miss Alice Ford who had been Mrs. Knight's assistant for 17 years was hired as Librarian. Alice still serves as Head Librarian. Janis Chapman is assistant day librarian. Renee' Seymoure is assistant night librarian. And Peggy Crum is a part-time aide.

At present the library, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, contains over 14,000 volumes and offers a choice of 35 periodicals, 3 newspapers, 378 audio cassette books, 336 videos, 135 music CD's, and have recently purchased DVD's and books on CD. There are also numerous reference books.

We have a genealogy file, which contains dates of birth, death, and marriages, which have appeared in the local newspaper, dating 1869 to present time. These newspapers are on microfilm, and are used in the library by people throughout the
U.S. We also have other local history information available for use in the library.

The library provides computers with Internet access FREE to library card holders. People who live within White Hall Township may obtain a card, free of charge, while people residing outside White Hall Township have to pay a non-resident free as set by the state. More than 1,500 people are library cardholders.

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