Rogers Park Library
The first Rogers Park Library was a private one established in 1874 in the Old Doland block on Clark Street. It was opened by the Rogers Park Women's Club, who worked as librarians and books were donated until 1917.
In December 1917, a circulating branch was opened on Clark Street near Morse Avenue in a rented store. By 1922, it had outgrown its home and moved to 1731 W. Greenleaf Avenue, just east of Clark Street. It served the community at this location during the Roaring Twenties, the Depression Years and into the the Post-War era. At this location for nearly 30 years, it was a familiar site to a generation of adults and children in Rogers Park.
Chicago Public Library, Rogers Park Branch, 6975 N. Clark Street, 1919.
In August of 1928, 21,827 books were loaned, 2,000 more books than any previous period. A remarkable achievement for the time.
Rogers Park Library 6957 N. Clark Street
In 1929, the North Shore News proposed a new library as the one on Greenleaf Avenue was inadequate. However, it remained there through the Depression and the post war era. During the Depression, the library found it necessary to appeal for donations of books. At one time, the city wanted to close the library.
A disastrous fire struck on Tuesday, January 30, 1951, ending the library's tenure at that location. That night was the coldest in 15 years. Though the library was next door to the Engine 102 Fire Station, it burned since it was so cold the hydrants were frozen. Damage was $45,000. Fortunately, although the library's furniture and building's interior were completely destroyed, nearly 8,000 books were out in circulation at the time and local businesses set up stations for their return. The staff carried on in emergency space donated by the Great Northern Laundry and schools gave space for the continuation of the children's library activities.
The library reopened in the following September (1952) in a redecorated store front at 7015 N. Clark Street. Formal dedication services were held on October 28 with the late Mayor Richard J. Daley and the late Leo Lerner as principal speakers.
It wasn't until October 29, 1958, that the first Chicago Public Library-owned building was erected at 6911 N. Clark Street.
Rogers Park became one of the busiest branches in the system. Between 1958 and 1968, over 2.779,800 books were circulated. In 1986, the number was approximately 192,000 volumes per year.
The library served the community until 1998 when it was razed to make way for a new facility.
On Tuesday, June 8, 1999 the Chicago Public Library dedicated the new Rogers Park Branch Library at 6907 N. Clark Street. The new library had an expanded collection for children, young adults, on-line reference databases, internet access, educational media, a meeting room, and more.
The opening of this multi-million dollar facility was a dream come true for the Friends of the Rogers Park Library who had been working since 1990 to secure a new building.
Listed in Rogers Park 2016, page 27
RPWRHS photo R011-93681 shows: The Rogers Park Library, shown here in 1915, was located at 6957 N. Clark Street and remained here until 1922. Library service in Rogers Park was established by the Rogers Park Women's Club in 1894. Club members acted as librarians and books were donated.