History

 

The Towanda District Library is located in Towanda, Illinois, adjacent to Interstate Route 55 and to historic Route 66.  Although the village of Towanda itself is a small community with a population of just 550 in 2008, it is but a few minutes from the prosperous communities of Bloomington and Normal, Illinois, home of two universities, and two large insurance companies.

The Towanda library was established in 1939 with help from the Federal Works Agency Project Administration.  In 1943, the town assumed complete responsibility of the library.

In August of 1964, the library was closed due to a lack of funds.  Library board members and other volunteers raised funds to successfully reopen the library.  In June 1967, the Township Tax was passed and the library became officially known as the Towanda Township Library.

The library changed names to The Towanda District Library when the district was formed on February 10, 1988.  The library was housed in several locations in Towanda before beginning construction of a new building in late 1988.  The new building opened February 7, 1989 at 301 South Taylor Street in Towanda. This building was funded by an Illinois Secretary of State building grant and with special reserve funds.

As of April 2008, the library district encompasses Towanda Township, Blue Mound Township, and parts of Money Creek Township, which include the towns of Towanda and Cooksville, farmland, and three subdivisions.  The district has a population of 2,187 residents.

The library is part of the RAILS Library System and Resource Sharing Alliance, and as such is one of 200 libraries that form an online consortium using the SirsiDynix Symphony automated library system.

 

Websites with more information about the library and the Towanda area:

 

Directors:

Annabelle Cary  (1940 – 1944)
Edith Shelton  (1944 – 1965)
Ruth Calvert  (1967 – 1971)
Eleanor Hensley  (1971 – 1987)
Kari Shelton  (1987 – 1994)
Diane Porter  (1994 – 1999)
Mary Williams  (2000 – 2008)
Karen Stott Bersche  (2008 – 2018)
Jason Sleet Shirley (present)

 

Library Board Presidents

Mrs. W. L. Hirst  (1940 – 1942)
Ed Wesley  (1942 – 1951)
Keith Stein  (1951 – 1953)
Emmett Wheeler  (1953 – 1954)
William Quinn  (1954 – 1956)
Mrs. Pearl DeVore  (1956 – )
— incomplete records
Mrs. George Kelley  (1967 – 1970)
Jack Jenkins  (1970 – 1975)
Ruth Parsons  (1982 – 1983)
Hank Thomassen  (1983 – 1989)
Wilma Stevenson  (1989 – 1990)
Ottilie Womack  (1990 – 1991)
Ruth Parsons  (1991 – 1993)
Diane Mueller  (1993 – 1994)
Carolyn Bouck  (1994 – 1998)
Ruth Kraft  (1998 – 1999)
Marsha DeMay  (1999 – 2000)
Sheila Donald  (2000 – 2001)
Diane Mueller  (2001 – 2002)
Tim Mogill  (2003 – 2009)
Letitia Hamblen (2009 – 2012)
Martha Jane Foster (2012 – 2013)
Letitia Hamblen (2013 – 2015)
Rochelle Wardell (2015 – present)