The Warren County Public Library began as a reading room in Monmouth, Illinois.
The History of this library dates back to 1868 with the opening of the Monmouth Reading Room and Library housing only newspapers and magazines. Now the Library offers the community tons of books and magazines as well as access to computers and technology.
Trustee William Pressly provided the funds for books and erected a two-story building on the southwest corner of the Public Square for a permanent library. A marble plaque on that building reads: “This was the first building in the State of Illinois given for a People’s Library.”
Library privileges were extended to residents of Warren County at Mr. Pressly’s suggestion.
A charter was issued on March 25, 1870 to the Warren County Library and Reading Room Association.
Patrons paid a nominal annual fee, which financed the library until 1920.
The library was administered by an appointed, 15-member Board of Trustees.
A new main library building was built adjacent to the original building on a lot donated by Mr. Pressly.
Warren County Library became the first county library under the new state law.
The Warren County Board contracted with Warren County Library and Reading Room Association to provide library services to county residents as permitted in the law.
An addition to the current building expanded facilities from the Public Square to South A Street.
Operation of the library was turned over to the Warren County Public Library District and administered by an elected, 15-member Board of Trustees.
The District covers all of Warren County (approximately 540 square miles).
The tax rate in the general fund went from $.08 for county libraries to $.15 per $100 of assessed valuation for district libraries.
A major expansion and reconfiguration, made possible by a grant from the Illinois State Library, added more than 3664 square feet, primarily on the first floor—all handicapped-accessible.
Space was expanded again by purchasing a building adjacent on the east, doubling the children’s room and expanding the genealogy room.
During late 2004 and early 2005, the upstairs at the east end of the library was remodeled. A new elevator was installed, and rooms redone. This became the new, greatly enlarged, genealogy area as well as a new large meeting room with a seating capacity of 90.