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Institutional Member SpotlightFebruary 5, 2024
Introducing the ILA Institutional Member Spotlight! Similar to our member spotlight, this spotlight focuses on our institutional members, which include Illinois libraries and library organizations. It's the same format with questions and some photos from the library. We think this series is an excellent way to showcase our member libraries and library organizations and learn more about them.
Kicking off our first Institutional Member Spotlight is the Jerseyville Public Library! You might remember this library as the winner of the 2023 ILA Member Photo of the it the ideal choice to inaugurate this exciting series!
The Jerseyville Public Library has served the needs of Jerseyville and Jersey County residents since it was established in 1894. The Young Lady’s Shakespeare Club rallied to add a tax levy to support the Jerseyville Free Library in 1894.
In 1902, with the help of the mayor and a prominent town physician, the Ladies secured a gift of $12,000 from the Andrew Carnegie Library Fund and the Library moved into its Carnegie facility in 1904.
As Jersey County grew, library use increased which led to the Library joining the Lewis & Clark Library System in 1965 which made additional materials available for patrons through intra-library loan for the first time.
In 1986, with the assistance of a Build Illinois State grant, Federal Revenue Sharing, and a local fund drive, a major expansion of the Jerseyville Public Library was undertaken which added 5,200 square feet to the existing building. Completed in 1987,the Library more than doubled its size. The expansion and renovation also allowed the entire building to become handicap accessible.
In 2012, the Lewis & Clark Library System merged with three other library systems in Illinois to form the Illinois Heartland Library System and SHARE. SHARE, the largest automation consortium in the country encompasses close to 400 libraries throughout the southern half of Illinois and allows libraries within the System to share materials with each other, greatly increasing the availability and variety of materials available to all of our patrons.
In 2024, the Library will embark on another exciting and long-awaited expansion project which will add another 6,776 square feet to the facility, which will provide much-needed space, expanded children’s and teen areas, dedicated public-use computer areas and so much more.
The mission of the Jerseyville Public Library is to provide its citizens with access to materials and information for work, school, and personal life that are both educational and entertaining.
Patrons Served Yearly
The library served approximately 46,253 visitors who stepped through our doors in 2023.
The library currently operates with a staff of 8. Of those 8, we have a Director, Children’s Librarian, Marketing & Communications Specialist, Circulation/Inter-Library Loan Specialist, Library & Programming Assistant, Library Assistant/Cataloger/Technical Services Assistant and two Library Clerks.
Of course, we all wear many hats!
Staff Member Highlights
The staff member who has been here the longest currently is Beth Tittle, Circulation/Inter-Library Loan Specialist, 28 years. Of note, two of our recent retirees worked for the library for 45 and 41 years, respectively. Our newest staff member is Library Clerk, Becky Hein who just began in January of 2024.
Why Did you Become an ILA Institutional Member
The library joined ILA for many reasons including
- The connection it brings us to other library professionals
- Keeping us informed of important issues, trends, innovations
- Conferences and continuing ed opportunities that keep us at the top of our game, like the Annual Conference, Reaching Forward South and the ILA Noon Network
- Member discounts for conferences
- iREAD, which we always use for our Summer Reading program
- ILA Marketing Forum on Facebook - a super great resource
- The ILA Reporter which we look forward to reading quarterly
TheThing About Being an ILA Institutional Member
All those wonderful reasons we gave about why we joined! And this might be a great place to add that since our library is not a 501(c)(3) organization, when we were given a grant through Ameren, we were able to accept it by being a member of ILA!
Fun FAbout the Library
Did you know the Jerseyville Public Library has many unique items to check out including fishing poles, sewing machines, hot spots, Chromebooks, blood pressure machines, ukuleles, pickleball sets, character baking pans, and more!
Popular Events with Patrons
Some of our popular bigger events include our Jerseyville’s Got Pets Pet Fashion Show Contest where patrons bring their pets all decked out in fabulous costumes and walk the red carpet for a chance to be crowned “Most Fashionable Pet”; our Free Comic Book Day Festival where we give out free comics and offer a variety of fun activities such as Smash Bros. Tournament, Lightsaber lessons, face painting, photo booth, cosplay contest and more.
Our newest favorite event is one we hosted for the first time last year for Good Neighbor Day: we held a Neighborhood Block Party in the street in front of the library where we asked our library neighbors (the Sheriff’s Department, the law firm next door, the church across the street) to participate with us.
We shut down the street (with permission from the City) and had multiple activities including a big truck show in the parking lot, hot dogs, popcorn, free book giveaways, costumed characters, yard games, chalk drawing, etc. There was a huge turnout from the community and everyone mentioned how much they were looking forward to next year’s party, which of course, we will have to make bigger and better!