History of the Library

On May 9, 1968, members of the Mothers Club of Andalusia Grade School heard a report from its newly formed library committee.  "The library will open on June 10 on Mondays and Thursdays, from 2:30 to 8:30 o'clock in the school basement.  There is a need for books, book shelves, and volunteers to clean the basement and check out books.  A paper will be passed around for volunteers."  This was the beginning of Andalusia Township Library.


"Volunteers" was the key word for the library from its beginning in 1968 until it was completed in June 1976.  Before they had their own library, the Club had made arrangements for regular visits of the bookmobile from River Bend Library System.


Upon the recommendation of I.W. Berryhill and his library committee, George Curtis, director of River Bend, was consulted on the proper procedure for establishing a library district.  A referendum was held in May 1970, and passed 73 to 6 to establish such a district.  Petitions were circulated according to Illinois library laws, and the first board of trustees was elected.  They were I.W. Berryhill, Elaine Coonradt, Susan Griffiths, Gladys Bassett, Margaret Thorp, William Ewing, and Robert Olson. 


In March 1971 the library was moved to a larger room in the school basement, and volunteers from Mothers Club continued to staff the library.  When Mrs. Mary Shovar was hired as librarian in August 1972, the club pledged to pay $1000 toward her salary for the first year.


The next project for the library board was to find housing outside the school building.  Plans for a proposed new library were approved as presented by architect Jack Gittenger of Andalusia.  A building site at 503 West Second Street was donated by the township, and gorund breaking began in May 1973.  A house to house canvass by volunteers provided additional cash for the building fund.  Revenue sharing from the township, along with taxes, provided enough money to get the project underway.  In addition, all permit fees and water/sewage hookup costs were waived by the village.


On June 21, opening day, the people of Andalusia Township had a special reason for remembering the Bicentennial year, a new library, free of debt, and offering many new services in a bright and cheerful atmosphere. 


With all possible construction handled by volunteer labor under the direction of Mr. Berryhill, the new building was finished at one third of cost, had all work been done by contracted labor.  Special recognition was given to these people at an Open House on October 24, 1976.