History of the Library
On November 15, 1982, the doors of the Johnsburg Public Library opened to the public for the first time as a “Project PLUS” demonstration library. Actual work on developing the Project Plus library began two years prior when a citizen’s group first looked into the matter. Funding for the first two years of operation as a demonstration library was provided via a grant from the Illinois State Library. The library was initially housed in 950 square feet of rental space at 2404 Johnsburg Rd. and contained 3,000 books on opening day. By the end of the first year of operation, there were over 2,000 card holders and an annual circulation of 18,000.
At the time of the library’s opening, the boundaries of the library district corresponded to the boundaries of Johnsburg Unit School district No. 12. However, after two failed referendums to establish a permanent library district, boundaries were changed which excluded some portions of the school district. The referendum to permanently establish the library district passed on the third try in April of 1984. Opposition forces continued to mount a campaign against the library. After three attempts to dissolve the library district in 1984 and 1985 proved unsuccessful, the Johnsburg Public Library settled into the district and continued to grow.
In August of 1987 the library moved to 2,700 square feet of newly constructed rental space at 3714 N. Fairview Ave. A successful annexation referendum held in November 1990 brought the boundaries of the library district back to its original boundaries matching the school district.
The current library of 10,000 sq. ft. at 3000 N. Johnsburg Rd. was constructed in 1996 without a referendum. The building was funded with a $750,000 mortgage, a $250,000 State Library grant, and $248,221 in cash reserves saved by the library.
The library received a $55,000 State Library grant in 2001 to establish the first Homeschool Resource Center (HRC) within a public library in the United States. There are over 2,500 items in the HRC.
The library reached capacity in 2003 and an unsuccessful referendum was held in April of 2004 to add 22,000 square feet. Since then, the library maintains a regular schedule of weeding older items in order to make room for new acquisitions.
The library has been very aggressive in pursuing grant opportunities throughout its history. Not including the library's construction grant and annual Per Capita grants, there have been a total of 47 competitive grants awarded from various agencies, totaling over $227,000.
The library currently in 2015 has over 61,000 items in its entire collection, an annual circulation of 93,000, over 8,000 resident and almost 3,000 reciprocal cardholders, and holds almost 300 programs for all ages throughout the year.