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Our History

The 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.

In July 1942, the library building was moved to the vacant lot at 228 Jefferson Street. The existing library was constructed in 1957 by Heidenreich Construction Company of 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. She retired in 1962. The next librarian was Jessie Garner, who remained until April 1973 when Nancy Browne took over the position and remained until 1974.

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

  • 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 (2005-2014)
  • Denise Tollensdorf (2014-present)
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;
  • Hanover Township - $10,000;
  • the Hanover community and alumni - memorials, private and organization donations and fundraising; and
  • Elkay Corporation of Savanna, IL - water cooler.
Today, with holdings of more than 11,000 items (including books, movies, nonfiction video, audiobooks, periodicals, reference materials and large print materials), the library is fully automated with an electronic card catalog, barcoded library cards, and automated circulation. Library holdings are cataloged in Prairie Cat (the regional online catalog) as well World Cat (worldwide catalog holdings).

Board & Staff

Our board of directors meets the second Monday of each month, except where noted, at 5:15pm via If you are interested in speaking or presenting at a board meeting, please email us in advance at hanover township and review our Public Comment Policy.

Board Minutes    Board Agendas

Board of Trustees

  • Dan Griffin, President
  • Justin Watkins, Vice President
  • Peggy Bastian, Secretary
  • Vivkie Deckard, Treasurer
  • Leonard Brokaw, Trustee
  • Donna Hunt-Richmond, Trustee

Library Staff

  • Denise Tollensdorf, Director/Head Librarian
  • Kristina Brubaker, Circulation Librarian
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