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Marshall Public Library Celebrates 100 Years!


In the beginning...

In 1915, the Walter Burdick Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution sought to include the question of a public library on the April 1916 ballot. A newspaper campaign was started to create “favorable sentiment” for all the reasons why a library would benefit the community.

The Daughters campaign was successful and the option to vote for a free public library was added to the April 1916 election ballot. The community overwhelming voted in favor of a public library.

The grand opening for the library was October 1916.  The first location was the second floor of the Claypool Building on the southwest corner of 5th and Main Street (now Archer Avenue). The only access to the library was by way of an outdoor staircase on the north side of the building.  It is now location to Old National Bank.


Over the years...

In an effort to provide citizens with a more pleasurable library experience, the library moved to a room above City Hall in 1929. The new location required no rent and offered a much needed inside stairway. This building is now location to Chamber of Commerce.

Still, the library services were only offered on a second level making access difficult for some patrons.  In 1963 the Women’s Club of Marshall discussed the idea of moving the library to a ground floor location. The Civic and Welfare committee met with the library board several times, but the financial aspects of securing a new location and the approval of a tax levy threatened to end the project.

In 1964, a Friends of the Library group was organized and a campaign began to “work toward relocating the library to a downstairs”. Funds were raised and in 1968 the Friends were able to make a down payment to purchase the former Willfond Clothing Store located at 612 Archer Avenue. This location would serve the public for the next 25 years.


The library now...

In 1993, the library discovered it did not meet current Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.  It was during this same time, a referendum was passed to establish a new district known as the Marshall Area Public Library District which included all residents living in the Marshall school district.  Upon its passage, the number of patrons served by the library immediately doubled and the need for a bigger building became apparent. The Friends of the Library re-organized in 1995 to secure funds to purchase the adjoining building. The adjoining 614 Archer Avenue location had been formerly known as C.A. Dixon Farm Implements, Ford Auto and Kroger. The purchase of this building tripled the library’s building size.

By 1996 both library buildings were completely remodeled to include a meeting room, accessible restrooms, a periodical room, young adult area and office space. The newly decorated Dale McConchie Meeting Room was dedicated October 1998 and the young adult area was dedicated to Janet Hasten October 2014.


Celebrating 100 years...

Recently the library celebrated their upcoming birthday with the Fall Festival Parade walk. Trustees, staff, teens and Friends handed out free book coupons for children while carrying library signs now on display at the library.

To celebrate the library’s 100th birthday, t-shirts are available for purchase as well library painting prints by artist Jo Rich–Vadas.  Free library placemats, bookmarks and magnets are free to everyone. The public is invited to have a slice of cake and a free balloon October 4th from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm in honor of the library’s birthday. We invite young and old to join us as we celebrate 100 years of providing quality materials, programs and services.


"Eating to Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes" Program Series at the Library!

Can you prevent the onset of diabetes and other diseases with what you do or do not eat? According to recent re-search, the answer is that maybe you can.

 To help you learn more about the relationship between food consumption and chronic diseases, particularly diabetes, University of Illinois Extension Wellness Educator Mary Liz Wright is offering a free program Eating to Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes” on Thursday, September 22nd and Tuesday, November 15th at 6:30 pm in the library’s Dale McConchie Meeting Room.

 Topics will include the types of diabetes, metabolic syndrome and strategies for those who have diabetes to reduce risks of future complications.

  Please register by calling the library at 217-826-2535 or using the online registration form.


Worthington Presents "The Hut"


Local Physical Therapist Wil Worthington will share his son Noah Worthington’s book: “The Hut” Thursday, October 13th at 6:30 PM - a story about a boy who, while looking at a picture in his living room, suddenly finds himself inside that same picture. The wonderful imagery and illustrations are brought to life as you go on the adventure written by an 11 year old boy who only weeks after writing this story, lost his life in an auto accident and became an organ donor. In turn, he saved the lives of four individuals.

Call the library to reserve a seat or register online.


Free Computer Classes

Computer classes are back and they are still free! Here's what we have coming up:

"Intro to Basic Computer Skills"
Tuesday, October 11th, 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM

 “Intro to Microsoft Word”
Tuesday, November 8th, 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM

 "Intro to Email"
Tuesday, December 13th, 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM

Join us as our Head Librarian leads the class using a free, self paced online tutorial offered through the Goodwill Foundation. Classes are offered on a first come first serve basis. If you are unable to attend a class and would still like to learn about it you may visit our website at www.marshallillibrary.com and click on the Resource Weblink tab to find your free online computer class!  Please call the library at (217) 826-2535 to register or for more information. Or register online. Space is limited.


Little Book Beginners Program for Preschoolers

Monthly Little Book Beginners programs are planned for pre-schoolers ages 3, 4, and 5 years and a parent at Marshall Public Library this school year.  At each thirty minute session the children listen to stories, learn finger plays, do interactive projects with a parent, and more.  The parents learn valuable information about effective ways to read to children and provide a reading environment at home.  Children receive a free book to take home at each session and an additional book if they complete a monthly reading log.

Little Book Beginners will meet on the third Thursday of each month, September thru April, at 6:30 PM in the library. Registration is limited, so please call the library or click here to register if you plan to attend.  Marshall Rotary Club and Evelyn Knowles Foundation generously fund this program.


GED Scholarships Available

The Friends of Marshall Public Library received a $250 donation from Marshall Main Street in honor of the library’s new GED Scholarship program. The program is one of many that honor the library’s centennial celebrations this year. The library understands it is difficult for individuals who lack a high school diploma to find work, and therefore difficult to pay for GED tests. As Janet Hasten, GED instructor for Lake Land Community College Adult Education said: “Students often struggle to pass the GED test; offering a local scholarship will help alleviate the heavy burdens many of these students face both academically and financially”. The library believes this program will not only help individuals and their families directly, but will also provide greater good to the community.

The Friends will award multiple scholarships to local residents; all those seeking a GED are encouraged to apply. Applicants may apply by completing a GED scholarship application available at the library or print one here. All applications should be mailed to Friends of the Library, Attn. Director, 612 Archer Avenue, Marshall, IL 62441 or dropped off at the library. All scholarships winners will remain confidential.

For more information about this scholarship opportunity or how you or your organization may contribute to this program, please call Marshall Public Library at 217-826-2535.

"Book Chat" - Every Third Wednesday at 10:30 AM

“Book Chat” is a book discussion group that meets at the library the third Wednesday morning of each month at 10:30.  While discussing books, enjoy a featured coffee flavor of the month over a light snack courtesy of Old National Bank. Upcoming featured books include:


Upcoming Selections

September 21, 2016 : Ordinary Grace – William Krueger

October 19, 2016: Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend – Katarina Bivald

November 16, 2016: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin

December 21, 2016 : A Redbird Christmas - Fannie Flagg

January 18, 2017: Little Mercies Heather Grudenkauf

February 15, 2017 : A Man Called Ove – Frederik Bachman

March 15, 2017 : Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neal Hurston


 Multiple copies of featured books will be available for checkout at the library, including audiobook and large print versions if available.

Check out these favorites!