The History of the Bartlett Public Library District
The Bartlett Public Library District had its origins in 1968 when several community organizations formed the Bartlett Volunteer Library Association. Citizens and representatives from community groups met in June of that year to discuss plans to set up a library in the Bartlett Municipal Building. Nancy Samuelson was selected as the first librarian.
At the June 1971 Board meeting the members discussed the possibility of forming a district library. They decided to circulate a petition to form a library, and in November the Village Board approved a motion supporting the petition. After 100 people signed it, a Board member filed it with the DuPage County Court. The Court then held a hearing on the petition in February 1972 and set a date for a referendum. A committee was formed to work for its passage, and in June 1972 the people of Bartlett voted in favor of it. The Bartlett Public Library District opened in October 1973 with its first salaried employees—librarian Margaret Eddingsaas and two clerks.
As the library grew, the Village Hall room, encompassing only 1250 square feet, became cramped. In 1974 Ruth Stuenkel was selected as the new library director. That same year the District hoped to build a permanent structure on the Bartlett Park site at North and Oak Avenues, but those plans fell through. Then, in July 1975, the voters passed a referendum authorizing the purchase of the post office building at Railroad and Hickory Avenues. It contained 3100 square feet, with 700 square feet leased to the post office. Eventually the post office moved, allowing the library to occupy the entire space.
Once again, however, the library outgrew its location, so it began to search for a site for a permanent building. In the meantime, Bob Harris became the new director in 1978. In July 1979 Kenroy Builders donated a parcel of land at Struckman and South Bartlett Roads to the District. However, after opposition from the village citizens regarding the southern location, the District sold that land to the Village in May 1981 and purchased the present site, at 800 S. Bartlett Road. As the building program was being planned, Diane Lueder was selected as director in 1980. Financial problems temporarily put the building program on hold. Later the District was able to construct the first phase of the present building, measuring 7100 square feet, which opened in August 1983. A group of Bartlett residents also formed the Friends of the Bartlett Library in 1983. (The Friends maintain a perpetual used-book sale in the library lobby and have donated over $130,000 to the Library.) In 1984 the District began to plan for an addition to the building. While this was underway, Dolores Payette became director in 1985. In July 1987 construction on the addition began. The 4500-square-foot addition opened in February 1988.
In 1993 the Library needed to expand again to accommodate the increased needs of the growing community. In March 1994 the citizens passed a referendum authorizing bonds to finance a two-story, 22,000-square-foot addition. Work began in the fall, and in August 1995 the new addition opened. The existing part of the building was also remodeled, and the library held its grand opening in September 1995.
In 2003 Todd Morning was selected as director after having served as the Youth Services Department Head for the Schaumburg Township District Library. Todd and the Board worked to remodel the Library to meet Bartlett’s needs in the 21stcentury.Under his direction, the Library was completely remodeled between 2008–2009, and the Circulation Department was expanded and redesigned in 2011. Todd also oversaw the upgrade of the Library’s online catalog to Polaris and the introduction of downloadable e-books, audiobooks and music.
In 2012 Karolyn Nance was selected as director upon Todd Morning’s retirement after 9 years of service. Karolyn came to Bartlett after having served as the director of the Fox River Grove Memorial Library.
The Bartlett Public Library District Board and staff are dedicated to providing excellent customer service to the community and ensuring the library continues to meet their informational, recreational and cultural needs in the future.