Wilmington Public Library District

201 South Kankakee Street
Wilmington, IL 60481


The Wilmington Public Library began as a reading room in a private home by a group of Wilmington women. It moved into a space provided on the second floor of the First National Bank on Water Street in the town center. Its first books were donated from home libraries. New books were purchased and a librarian employed with the proceeds of fund-raising events such as pie sales. In 1914 the women, who could not vote themselves, were successful in persuading the voters of Wilmington Township to levy a small tax for library service. The library grew and prospered, but remained in increasingly cramped quarters for more than 55 years.

In 1969, spurred by city growth, the Board purchased the old native stone Methodist Church (circa 1857), two blocks east, on Kankakee Street and redesigned the space to accommodate library resources and services. In July 1987 the population service area was increased, following a LSCA demonstration grant, to include the residents of Florence and Wesley Townships for whom Wilmington is the town center. It became a district library. With LSCA Title II funds, an addition was constructed which includes a children’s room, a meeting room, rest rooms and a new entrance; the building became handicapped accessible for the first time.

The library district was only 5 years old when tax cap legislation went into effect. It had a very small budget, with no reserves existing and the tax rate has steadily decreased. In 1997, the library board successfully passed a referendum to increase the corporate tax rate.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide access to information, ideas, and cultural opportunities essential to a literate and educated society and to provide a welcoming environment where people can seek out and explore all library resources without barriers.

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