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Open Book


Who We Are

The Elkhart Public Library District is located in the rural village of Elkhart, Illinois.


We are proud to provide the 841 residents of Elkhart and Hurlbut Townships 

free services & programs, DVDs, and books in print as well as in audio- and e-format.

Non-residents in the area who are unserved may obtain a card for a reasonable fee.

Our historic building holds over 10,543 materials on-site alone.



Because of our partnership with the Illinois Heartland Library System and 

Libby by Overdrive, patrons have access to millions of items in all formats.

We invite you to access the Internet through the Library’s free 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 programs, resources, and services

to all ages of people in the District.

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

The village of Elkhart

is dedicated to preserving its 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:



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.

  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.

           Books:  9,487

Audiobooks:     363

             DVDs:     692

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