The Richton Park Public Library District is a perfect example of community support. This began when village trustees investigated library services. Interest in a library was strong, and in 1972 a storefront was rented, located at 22365 Governors Highway.
The storefront had been a coffee-house and volunteers did extensive cleaning and renovation in order to convert it into a library. Books were obtained through donations from area residents, the Suburban Library System, and the Illinois State Library. Fundraisers, including bake sales, book sales and paper drives were held. Volunteers constructed shelves for the books and furniture was donated to the library.
The Library soon opened and was staffed entirely with volunteers. In 1974, village residents gave their approval for a referendum to establish the Richton Park Public Library District.
With rapid growth of the library, it was soon realized that the storefront facility was inadequate to meet the needs of the community. A solution was found in 1979 when the village agreed to lease the old Village Hall to the library. After extensive renovation, the library opened on March 30, 1981 at 4045 Sauk Trail.
Inevitably, the demand for services led to a small addition to the building in the fall of 1984, and in 1995 a referendum passed to double the library size from 4,000SF to the current 8,250SF.
A decade and a half later, the 2010 census declared that there was a 2.2% population growth in Richton Park and the library was now serving 13,646 residents. With library space utilized to capacity and ongoing building maintenance issues, the Board of Library Trustees decided to go for referendum again after 17 years. On March 20, 2012 a $6 million bond referendum passed to build a new 18,400SF facility!
Although the tax rate increase referendum failed by 70% in March 2012, and again by only 2.94% in April 2013, we anticipate that the third attempt will be successful in the near future so that we may effectively operate the new library facility.
A historical Groundbreaking Ceremony was held on October 26, 2013 and eleven months later, the Grand Opening was held on September 27, 2014. After 33 years, the residents of Richton Park finally received the premier library that they deserved and we are proud of our beautiful new facility at 22310 Latonia Lane!
The new library was featured on the cover of Illinois Library Association magazine (Feb 2015) and has since been honored with the Village Beautification Award (Sept 2015) and the Dewberry Excellence In Design Award (Jan 2016). The Village’s Annual Volunteer Award was also presented to the Library Board of Trustees (Oct 2014) and the Friends of the Library (Oct 2015) and the Board President was honored with the Citizen of the Year Award (Feb 2016).
We believe in supporting the community just as the community supported us decades ago and the library often collaborates with the township, village, community center, school districts, home owners associations, local businesses and other community and service organizations.
We are proud of our humble past and look forward to the changes, opportunities and growth that the future has in store for the Richton Park Public Library District, the patrons and the community of Richton Park, Illinois.