The Dolton Public Library was founded in 1946 by the Dolton-Riverdale Junior Woman’s Club, the Franklin PTA, and the PTA District 148. On April 28, 1953, a tax referendum for Dolton and Riverdale Villages to fund a public library failed due to low voter turnout.
After the tax vote failed, the Dolton-Riverdale Woman’s Club began advocating for a tax-free public library. The Village Library was offered as a name. Various organizations were contacted for monetary and book donations. On the second floor of the Dolton Village Hall, the budding library was allowed to use the space. A library planning meeting was conducted on April 25, 1954. Initially, 52 organizations were involved. L’invitée, Miss Leona Ringerling, de la State of Illinois Library The State then loaned 500 books. In May, a door-to-door canvas acquired 700 more books. On June 1, 1954, the Woman’s Club organized a public meeting to create the Village Library’s Constitution and Bylaws. Twelve board members and a library consultant were elected. Mrs. A.J. Ohlsen was the first President, followed by Mrs. Stephen Mason, Mrs. Margaret Carlsen, Mrs. Arthur Dillner, Secretary, and Mrs. William Sluka, Treasurer. Mrs. William Horvat, Mrs. J.G. Ferkan, Mrs. Robert Sayers, and Mrs. Rodger O’Connor were the remaining Board members. Mrs. Thomas Ketcham was appointed librarian.
The Village Library Corporation was formed on July 15, 1954, when the library sought non-profit status. Individuals paid $1.00 per year to join The Village Corporation. The Library was free to inhabitants of Dolton, Riverdale, and Ivanhoe.
The Village Library opened in 1954. 5,000 books and magazines were offered. Mrs. Horvat and volunteers cataloged and categorized these resources from June to September. Many of the crooked book pockets and date due slips were pasted by volunteers too young to read while their mothers and grandmothers typed your card catalog and big sisters assembled! A few years ago, the library was open from 7pm-9pm Monday-Thursday, and 3pm-5pm Tuesday-Thursday. 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturdays During the 16 hours a week when the library was open, two books were circulated per minute. The initial budget was $1,200.00. By January 1955, the Village Hall’s library needed a second room. Mrs. Edith Dolton intended to make her home a permanent home for The Village Library following her death. Her house was bequeathed to the library, but termite and structural issues prevented its usage. The new library was taxed on May 17, 1963. Mrs. Irene Wernicke, Mrs. Molly Bruckner, Mrs. Carol Hall, Mrs. Sophie Horvat, Mr. Emil Kopac, and Mrs. Milan Herzog were elected as trustees. Mrs. Carol Hall was elected Secretary-Treasurer and Mr. Emil Kopac was elected President. Mrs. Mary Taylor Josway was hired on July 20, 1965.
On December 18, 1965, the community voted to create a new library on the Dolton House property. The original Dolton House was demolished in 1964. So an 8,400 square foot structure housing 35,000 volumes was built. It was $200,000.00.
The library’s collection and popularity grew. It was engaged on September 22, 1975 to design an expansion. For the 16,000 square foot extension, a $990,000 bond vote and tax increase approved June 25, 1976. The land was donated by Dolton. The new structure opened in September 1979. Finally, in 1991, the historic train station received a final makeover. This library would not be possible without the help of many friends in the Dolton-Riverdale region. To all residents, past and present, we say a hearty thank you for a job well done! Since its inception at 14037 Lincoln Avenue, Dolton, IL 60418, the Dolton Public Library has served generations of patrons. This dignified, stately structure just had an interior makeover that upgraded all interior areas and combined numerous old and new services and features that highlight the community’s cultural variety. The youth and adult portions were given a modern makeover, as were the workplaces and study rooms, a new media room, and other eye-catching enhancements. The library’s main entrance and washrooms were also upgraded to be ADA accessible for handicapped patrons.
The Dolton Public Library District Board of Trustees, including President Sherry Jackson, Vice-President Vivienne Wallace-Culp, Treasurer Patricia Robinson, Secretary Dawn Williams, and Trustees Louise Copeland, Elizabeth Gonzalez, and Evelyn Sorrell, conducted the ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, March 30, 2019. The entire Dolton community was invited to the Grand Re-Opening Celebration and explored the freshly restored building.