Clinton Township Public Library History
In 1904 the Waterman Women's Club began the Clinton Township Public Library as a reading room. A committee solicited books, periodicals, and cash contributions until the club had a large enough collection to justify renting a room above Dean's Drug Store. Until 1910 the club financed the library through various fund-raising projects. It also successfully petitioned the voters of Clinton Township to elect a library board and to establish a tax-supported public library in 1911.
Funding from Andrew Carnegie was first requested by a representative of the women's club in 1905, but formal application was not made until June 14, 1911. This application, sent in by the library board of trustees, met with no response, so the board wrote again on August 6, 1912. On January 31, 1913, Clinton Township was offered $3500 for library construction.
A special election was called and voters passed a resolution to support annually a new library with at least 10 percent of the $3500 request from Carnegie. In 1913, at a township meeting, a request was made for a two-and-a-half-mill tax, the money to be used for constructing a basement under the proposed library. A site at the end of Main Street was chosen because it was centrally located in the village.
Some of the men in the community got together and dug the basement with horse-drawn scoops, although work on the building itself was delayed until June 29, 1914 because of a brick makers' strike. Designed by the architectural firm of Ashby and Sons of Chicago, the square brick building ws constructed by Benjamin Zolper and Sons of Mendota, Illinois.
At the time of construction, Clinton Township was the smallest governmental unit in the United States to have secured a Carnegie library.
Although the Clinton Township Public Library remains essentially unchanged, a number of improvements have been made over the year, including some electrical rewiring, replacement of the original fixtures with fluorescent lights, and installation of a dropped ceiling. The interior walls are also now covered with pecan paneling.
Since 1916, one of the duties of the librarian has been to keep a historical scrapbook of news items of important events which have occurred in the village and township. This includes such personal items as births, obituaries, weddings, as well as clippings about various organizations, schools and churches.