Library History

Read how our library was established and how it has evolved to become such an important part of our community.

The Marengo Public Library is one of the libraries that was established with the help of Andrew Carnegie in the early 1900's.  In 1903, an item in the Marengo Republican newspaper noted, "Marengo is the smallest town in the country to receive an offer of $10,000 for a library from Andrew Carnegie."

In 1903, a library Board of Trustees was appointed and work began on the new library.  After two years of planning and building, the Marengo Public Library was completed.  It was dedicated on August 5, 1905 and opened to the public the next day, August 6, 1905.

The total cost of the building and furnishings was $10,683.39, of which, $10,000 was contributed by Andrew Carnegie.  The City of Marengo, by agreement, was to contribute $1,000 yearly for its support.

In 1905, there were 1,463 books on the shelves and a circulation of 6,668 books.  The Library Board that year spent $1,226 for books and $42 for periodicals.  There were 637 registered borrowers and the librarian's salary the first year was $212.50.

In May of 2007, after seven years of planning, fundraising, and building, a beautiful addition and renovation of the original building was completed.  The cost of the building was just over $2.1 million.  The new building contains a community meeting room, state-of-the-art computer room, a children's programming room, an elevator for accessibility, and much needed additional space for patrons and staff.

 

The remodeled library below.

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