Library History

Library Building Design Information

Opened in 1891, the library was originally located in the Woodstock Opera House. The library moved to its Judd Street location in 1959. The 4000 sq ft building was designed by local architect William Fyfe, a former student of Frank Lloyd Wright. The brick pillars throughout the reference area are from the 1959 building.

The library underwent two more expansions in 1966 (Fyfe, architect) and in 1987. The 1987 expansion by the architectural firm of O'Donnell Wicklund Pigozzi of Deerfield increased the library size to nearly 23,000 sq. ft. and added upper and lower levels to the building. Originally the Children’s Room and a meeting room were located in the lower level and the adult nonfiction and reference collections were on the upper level.  The entrance to the building was moved to the west side, from the parking lot, instead of the original front door location on Judd Street with a back entrance from the north side driveway.

The 2001 expansion of the library by Frye Gillan Molinaro Architects of Chicago retained the upper and lower levels of the 1987 building and the brick pillars from the 1959 building. The 43,000 sq. ft. revision of the library moved the Children’s Room to the main floor of the library, and provides a variety of meeting spaces from study rooms to meeting rooms.

The antique oak tables located in the Margaret Marchi Reading Room are from the library’s first days in the Woodstock Opera House in the 1890s. The slanted table and benches in the Children’s Room and several adult fiction display stands are from the 1959 and 1966 renovations.  Much of the upper level furniture is from the 1987 addition. The two large portable display cases are new, created for the library by John Scharres, Managing Director of the Woodstock Opera House.
WoodstockPublicLibrary's Historical Photographs of the Library photoset WoodstockPublicLibrary's Historical Photographs of the Library photoset


March 23, 2011 marked the 120th Anniversary of the official opening of the Woodstock Public Library.



The Woodstock Public Library officially opened for business on March 23, 1891

The original library was located in the Woodstock Opera House (then called City Hall). In 1891, the city's population was 1,893 and library had just over a 1,000 books on its shelves. The foundation of the library's early book collection was donated to the City of Woodstock by the two private subscription library organizations: the Woodstock Literary & Library Association and the Young Men's Literary Society.

Some notable dates and statistics in the Woodstock Public Library's history:

1931 - 37,671 books checked out. City population 5,471

1971 - 96,756 books checked out. Collection size is 31,501  City population 10,266 

2010 - 329,404 items checked out. Collection size is 127,401 items. City population 24,770
 1927 Photograph of the Woodstock Public Library

March 23 1891 - Woodstock Public Library, located in two rooms in the Woodstock City Hall (now called Woodstock Opera House), is formally opened with a ceremony.

1959 - Library moves to its own building on Judd Street.  The building was designed by local architect William Fyfe, a former student of Frank Lloyd Wright. At 4,500 square feet and a cost of $60,000 the new library featured air conditioning and a children’s area. The brick pillars in the current building's Reference Area are from this original 1959 building.

1965 - Library became a charter member of the Northern Illinois Library System

1966 - A library addition doubles the size of the building to over 8,000 square feet. William Fyfe designed the addition. Woodstock population is 9,910

1977 - Rural Woodstock Public Library District formed after a successful referendum in. It encompasses the area in Community School District 200 which is outside the city limits of Woodstock.

1983 - Friends of Woodstock Public Library founded to support and provide fundraising for the library.

1985 – Library offers Sunday hours for the first time.1940 Photograph of the library

1987 - Library addition expanded the library to 23,000 sq ft. This addition created the upper and lower levels that still exist today. The Children’s Room and Story-time Room was located on the lower level, along with a meeting room. The upper level housed the Adult Non Fiction & Reference Collections.
Building addition designed by OWP (O'donnell Wicklund Pigozzi, Inc)

1987 - Computers used for the first time check out materials to patrons.

1990 - Computer Catalog available for the first time to allow customers to locate materials.

1994 – Card Catalog is officially “closed”, library staff is no long typing up card catalog cards for each item added to the collection.

1996 - Internet available to the public for the first time on two computers. Two word processors also available.

March 2000 - Successful tax referendum to expand library to 43,000 sq ft. The architectural firm of Frye, Gillan and Molinaro plans the library expansion.

April 2000 – Library collection and all contents are temporarily moved to 222 Church St (formerly Diamond Exteriors and now the Challenger Discovery Center) to facilitate expansion.

June 2001 - Library moves back to renovated library building. The expanded building offers over 20 internet stations, study rooms, two meeting rooms, self-checkout system and a greatly expanded Children's Room.

2005 - eBooks and audiobooks available for download by library patrons.

2008 - New website released.

2010 - Self Service Holds and new self check out system provided.

2013 - Overdue fines increased (25 cents DVDs/Videogames 20 cents all other materials)

2013 - Videogames added to collection

2013 - Magazines & Newspapers moved to main floor

2014 - YA Area moved upstairs. Local History moved to main floor. New Books and A/V moved to former YA area

Library Directors 
Erastus Richards 1891-1891
Marion B. Rogers 1891-1892 
Mrs. C.M. Curtis (nee Winifred Hall)1892-1911
Lura Wandrack 1911 to 1948
Edna Wienke 1948 to 1959

Dorothy Frederick 1959
Edith Knilans  1959 to 1962
Margaret Marchi  1962 to 1981
Margaret Field Crane  1981 to 2009
Mary Petro 2009 to 2012
Nicholas Weber 2013 to present

Additional photographs of the contemporary and historic library are available on the the library's Flickr photostream:
WoodstockPublicLibrary's Historical Photographs of the Library photoset WoodstockPublicLibrary's Historical Photographs of the Library photoset