Back to the Beginning
The Joliet Public Library has a long and rich history dating back to 1875 when the Joliet City Council established the Library and appointed our Board of Directors. In 1902, the Library Board selected Daniel H. Burnham and Co. to design our brand new Ottawa Street building. A statue of Louis Joliet, our city’s founder, was placed on the lawn in 1904. Since then the Ottawa Street Branch, also called the Main Library.
- 1930s: Shortened library hours during the Great Depression and asked patrons to donate books
- 1936: Joliet City Government offices relocate to the library
- 1947: Library begins microfilming newspapers
- 1958: Library basement begins renovations
- 1965-1982: The Library ran a bookmobile service
- 1967: City Government Offices move to Joliet Municipal Building
- 1974-1982: The Library operates an East Branch at 606 Cass Street
- 1988: Juvenile Literacy Center opens with 8 Apple II computers
- 1989: The Library was firebombed after hours, causing extensive damage to the children’s area and smoke damage throughout the building
- 1989: City Council approved a 49,000 square foot expansion and restoration of damage caused by the fire
- 1991: Grand Opening of the new building
- 1995: The Outlet is open in the Louis Joliet Mall
- 1998: The Online Information Center is opened with computers and access to the internet.
Opening the New Branch
As more patrons and families moved west, the need for a stop near the west side of town was addressed with the opening of the Black Road Branch. In 2001, construction began, and the Outlet in the mall was closed in 2002. The Black Road Branch opened to the public in November 2002.
The Library continues to expand and grow. While there is a small renovation of the Black Road Branch in the works, library administration is also working on securing funding for an outreach van, which can bring library services to different parts of our large community, and to people who can’t get to our physical buildings but require our services.