Library 2-002


History Of The Hanover Township Library

Photo_MillerThe first library in Hanover was constructed with Works Projects Administration (WPA) funds in the spring of 1941. A frame building arrived in 12 ft. by 24 ft. sections in May 1941, and was put together on the vacant lot east of the Village Hall, the location of the old fire station at 209 Jefferson Street. The official opening of the library was in July 1941. At that time, about 1,400 books were available for loan. Helen Cooper was the first librarian.

On July 1942, the library building was moved to the vacant lot west of the present-day Hanover Motor Company at 228 Jefferson Street, and it continued there until the current library was constructed in 1957 by Heidenreich Construction Company from Elizabeth at a total cost of $28,000. The formal opening was held on October 28, 1957. At that time, the librarian was Emma Speer, who had begun her work in 1942.

Following is a list of library directors to the current day:

    • Emma Speer (1942-1962)
    • Jessie Garner (1962-1973)
    • Nancy Browne (1973-1974)
    • Jeanette Stutzman (1974-1981)
    • Mary Unangst (1981-1989)
    • Kathleen Gross (1989-1994)
    • Laura Gray (1994-1995)
    • Mary Bruszer (April 1995-September 1995)
    • Chris Hill (October 1995-1997)
    • Beatrice Ingersoll (1997-1999)
    • Frank McCann (1999-2005)
    • Shari Farral (September 2005-August 2014)
    • Denise Tollensdorf, current Director since August 2014

In 1965 the Hanover Library became affiliated with the Northern Illinois Library System (NILS) and was then able to have a wider range of books, films, magazines, pamphlets, poster, and art reproductions, all free of charge to the citizens of Hanover Township.  On July 1, 2004, the Hanover Township Library became a member of the Prairie Area Library System (PALS) when NILS merged with 3 other library systems to form PALS.  On July 1, 2011, the Hanover Township Library became a member of the Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) when PALS merged with 4 other library systems.

In 2007, the Hanover Board decided to bring the library into compliance with the American With Disabilities Act (ADA).  Christopher Fye and Associates (Freeport) was hired as the architectural firm.  On August 24, 2009, Bockelman-Skrine Construction Company (Galena) began construction on the 630 square foot addition to the rear of the library which would house the juvenile/children’s department and the handicapped and wheelchair accessible restrooms.  A handicapped ramp and handrail were added to the outside rear emergency door, and remodeling was done to the original library to allow for a computer section, a multimedia section, and an adult section – all handicapped and wheelchair accessible.  Both front entry doors were automated for handicapped and wheelchair accessibility.  Subcontractors were Top Notch (Galena) for electrical and plumbing; Air North (Galena) for HVAC; Beans Excavating and Concrete (Galena); Wilco Roofing and Gutters (Dubuque); Sherman Flooring (Wisconsin); and, Spahn and Rose (Dubuque) as supplier.  The project was completed on March 8, 2010, for a cost of almost $160,000.  Funding came from

    • Illinois State Library Construction Grant - $50,000;
    • USDA Rural Development Grant - $30,000 from 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus fund money);
    • Russell Martin Memorial - $28,000;
    • the Hanover Township - $10,000;
    • Hanover residents, Alumni, businesses, organizations, local government, and churches in the forms of memorials, private donations, and fundraising.

Elkay Corporation of Savanna, IL, donated the water cooler. 

In 2011, with holdings of over 12,000 items (including books, movies, nonfiction videos, audiobooks, periodicals, reference materials, large print materials, and art works), the library is fully automated with an electronic card catalog, barcoded library cards, and automated circulation.  As all the library’s materials are online through PrairieCat (regional online catalog), the State of Illinois Library Catalog (SILC), and the World Catalog, the library participates in interlibrary loan where it can borrow from and lend to other Illinois libraries and libraries throughout the United States.


Sources: Terry Miller's Hanover, Library Records, and Shari Farral