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Open Book


Who We Are

The Elkhart Public Library District is located at 121 Bohan Street, Elkhart, Illinois.

The Elkhart Public Library provides free services to all residents living within the

library district boundaries (most of Hurlbut and Elkhart Townships- consult your tax bill)

with services available to all non-residents for a fee.

The library district holds over 12,978 materials including over 11,864 books, and 646 DVD's,

and over 293 books on CD-ROM are also now available for check-out.

In total, over 3,021 people entered the library to utilize print and electronic reference resources,

access the Internet through the Library’s WiFi connection, use the copier or fax machines,

participate in computer and Internet training, view a Library exhibit, or attend one of the

Library’s many events.  Our friendly and professional staff is eager to serve you.

Welcome to the Elkhart Public Library!

Our Mission 


The mission of the Elkhart Public Library is to provide educational, informational,

cultural and recreational resources and services to all ages of people in the Elkhart Public Library District. 

The library will provide access to the universe of information, and especially that information which is of immediate relevance and interest to the community it serves.  The library seeks to accomplish its mission

through prudent management and development of its resources, and by providing access

to materials and services to meet the present and future needs of the community it serves. 

In this effort, the Elkhart Public Library cooperates with other libraries, and with other educational and

governmental institutions.  Special emphasis is placed on current popular materials. 

The library serves as a learning center and educational center for all residents of the community.

Our Vision


The Elkhart Public Library is dedicated to preserving the rich history of the community

while promoting modern technology, educational excellence, and the arts in a safe

and nurturing environment for all patrons, at the same time

working closely with public and private entities.

Vision for the Village of Elkhart

Elkhart is a small town dedicated to preserving its rich history and natural beauty,

while cultivating an atmosphere in which modern technology; business, industry and agriculture can thrive. 

Promoting educational excellence, the arts, family values and environmental responsibility,

Elkhart welcomes visitors and residents alike, with its hometown spirit.

Our History

In 1888, Mrs. Lemira Gillett promised to build a library for the citizens of Elkhart

if the town was voted 'dry' for three years.  This was done, and the townspeople met in 1891

to form a Library Association.  The library was established first in a room in the Gillett Building

with Mrs. Gillett paying the rent, and for shelves and furnishings. 


She also gave $1,000, the interest to be used for purchasing books. 

Mrs. Charlotte Barnes also gave $1,000, the interest to be used for upkeep. 

In 1893, the Library opened to the public with 214 volumes, and by 1904 had acquired 829 books. 


After her death, Mrs. Gillett's daughter Miss Jessie Gillett took over her mother's plans. 

She asked that certain conditions be met: 1) that a two mills tax be levied for the support of the Library,

2) that six directors be elected three being women, and 3) that the library be open to the public

a minimum of three hours on two days a week. 


These conditions were met and in 1902 the Library legally became the property of the town. 

Miss Gillett then built the present Library building as a memorial to her mother. 

In 1904, the building was completed and formally dedicated in May of that year.

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