MPPL 75th


A photograph of former Assistant Children’s Librarian, Mary Sanders, taken in 1971. Sanders, who retired in 1976, was featured as “The Traveling Librarian” in a local newspaper article in August 1971.

Connecting You to Opportunity for 75 Years

“A love of reading and a habit of turning to books for information and inspiration form the soundest formations for education and continuing progress,” said Dorothy Kester of the Mount Prospect Woman’s Club in 1943. That year, the Club was joined by many other community groups in leading the charge for a tax-supported Library in the village. In 2018, we celebrate those efforts and 75 years of the Mount Prospect Public Library. MPPL is a welcoming, trusted community hub, gathering place, forum, and information source, and we look forward to many more years of connecting you to opportunity.

“This will be a year of celebrating our heritage highlighting our services to the community,” said Executive Director Marilyn Genther. “Residents and patrons are invited to join us throughout 2018 as we acknowledge and honor important milestones and individuals that shaped MPPL’s history and prepared the way to today.”

The commemoration will focus on four themes: The Arts, Technology, Service, and Community. These themes point to the amazing number of opportunities MPPL has made available to residents at every stage in life throughout the last 75 years.

We are also searching our archives to bring you multimedia stories and photos that will have you learning and reminiscing.

Signature Events – What We Do Best

Winter Reading: Connect With Your Library

February 1-28

Kick off the celebration and join us for Winter Reading! Adults, kids, teens, and South Branch patrons can Connect With Your Library and try for prizes.

75th Anniversary Art Exhibit

Friday, February 23-Sunday, February 25

This exhibit featuring young local artists will be open to the public all weekend following a Friday evening reception. Guided tours of the art located around the Main Library will be available, and guests can also participate in the Sticker Mosaic project to help make an iconic MPPL image come to life!

Library Card Design Contest

Get inspired and create a Library card for us. Kids, teens, and adults can submit designs, and a winner will be chosen from each age category. Information will be available beginning February 23.

Global Art Explorers

Sunday, February 25, 1-4 p.m.

Take a trip around the world without ever leaving the Library! This drop-in family craft program will explore art and culture in other countries. No registration necessary; just drop in! Children younger than age 9 must be accompanied by an adult.

Ready Player One Scavenger Hunt

Thursday, March 29 – Thursday, April 5

During this week-long event we invite you to participate in our Ready Player One scavenger hunt, from March 29 – April 5, 2018. Sign up online to compete against fellow player in ’80s themed games, clues and puzzles that range from online classics to in-person crosswords. Can you beat the competition?

Ready Player One Extravaganza

Monday, April 2, 7-9 p.m.

Adults (18+), join other fans for the ultimate Ready Player One event!

See if you can get the highest score in Pac-Man, try out virtual reality with the Oculus Rift or PlayStation, get a blast from the 80s past, and much more!

National Library Week: 75th Anniversary Trivia Night

Tuesday, April 10, 7-9 p.m.

Not only are we commemorating our 75th Birthday, but it’s also National Library Week. We invite you to get a team of 2-5 participants together for a trivia contest featuring questions from a variety of categories, including history, pop culture, sports, and more. Get ready for some special 75th-themed questions as well. Spectators also welcome! If you are interested in bringing a team, contact Janine Slayton or Joe Collier at 847-253-5675 by March 30.

The Best of Broadway and the Fabulous Forties

Tuesday, June 19, 7:30 p.m.

Let us entertain you with songs from 1940s era musicals like Oklahoma, South Pacific, and Carousel, as well as favorites from The Phantom of the Opera, The Sound Of Music and more. Award-winning Vocalist Maureen Christine and her talented team of musicians will provide an unforgettable evening of musical entertainment plus a little big band swingin’ saxophone.

Anniversary Open House

Sunday, September 23

Join us for a birthday party with family activities and refreshments

Also watch for information on an Old Time Radio Show with TesserAct Theater Company, our booth at the Randhurst Street Fest and other September events that will celebrate our 75 years of history!

Thank you to our 75th Anniversary sponsors!

Diamond Sponsor

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

The history of MPPL

Take a closer look at the Library’s past. Click on a date to learn about Library history.

1930 | 1932 | 1943 | 1944 | 1950 | 1961 | 1976 | 1993 | 2002 | 2004 | 2006 | 2009 | 2011| 2014 | 2017
    • 1930

      The first Library was established by the Mount Prospect Woman’s Club. Consisting of one tier of shelves holding about 300 books, the collection was located in a one-room schoolhouse on the corner of Main Street and Central Road and was staffed by volunteers from the Woman’s Club.

    • 1935

      Library in brick building 1935The Library moved to the old Mount Prospect State Bank building on the northeast corner of Busse and Main Streets. The Mount Prospect Woman’s Club was still in charge but employed Mrs. Irma Schlemmer, who was permitted to keep the Library open eight hours a week.

    • 1943


      Woman’s club members canvass the village for funds to operate the Mount Prospect Public Library. From right: Mrs. Walter Kirchhoff, Mrs. V. F. Bittner, Mrs. E. A. Glaeser, and Mrs. Walter Carlson. At his home, Mr. William Busse, Jr. donates to Mrs. R. P. Smeby. From Illinois Digital Archives.

      A referendum enabling the foundation of a tax supported Village Library was approved. The young Library received assistance from the Chicago Public Library in the form of professional suggestion, furniture, and books. The Chicago Public Library also gave the Library 1,000 books for $200 per year, which it then returned to Mount Prospect to enable the purchase of children’s books. This help continued for twenty years.

    • 1944


      Interior of the building at 115 S. Main Street in 1944. From Illinois Digital Archives.

      The Library moved to a paint store at 115 South Main Street.

    • 1950


      Library board members and staff gathered for the Library’s corner stone laying ceremony on March 31, 1950. Shown (left to right) are Maurice Pendleton (mayor); unidentified man (in cap); Ed Cleven; Dorothy Kester (with trowel); Ruth Carlson; Irma Schlemmer; Meta Bittner; and Bertha Ehart. From Illinois Digital Archives.


      Library staff, circa 1950: (left to right) Ruth Carlson, Irma Schlemmer (head librarian), Meta Bittner, Bertha Ehard, and Dorothy Kester (library board president). From Illinois Digital Archives.

      The first Library building was built at 14 E. Busse Avenue on land purchased with money donated by organizations and from individual gifts. This building was torn down to make way for Village Hall in 2002.

    • 1961


      Library expansion completed in 1962. Corner view shows doors on both Busse and Emerson Streets. From Illinois Digital Archives.


      View of center of main room just east of reference desk. Stairs in background lead to Children’s Room. From Illinois Digital Archives.

      A bond issue of $198,000 authorized an addition to the Library. Between 1962 and 1965 two additions were made to the building, tripling the floor space. The collection consisted of about 20,000 books.

    • 1976


      A new Library opened its doors December 6, 1976 on the site of the old Central School. The automated circulation system also went online.

    • 1993


      From Illinois Digital Archives.

      As the Library celebrated its 50th anniversary, many new services became available to patrons, including Readers’ Advisory, a drive-up book drop, and the Internet. Circulation and usage increased as well.

    • 2002


      A $20.5 million referendum was approved and plans for a renovated library building were drawn up. The Library moved to temporary quarters at 852 Feehanville Drive in the Kensington Business Center.

    • 2004


      Construction of the Library building on Emerson Street was completed. The Library moved back to its permanent home in August. It opened to the public in September.

    • 2006


      Two commissioned artworks were purchased and placed: the Youth Duck Bench and four pieces of Raku pottery.

    • 2009


      Annual circulation hit one million for the first time. The first permanent offsite location, known as the South Branch, opened in the Community Connections Center, located at 1711 W. Algonquin road.

    • 2011


      Harold Weary with Mary Jo Hutchings at the dedication of the current Library building.


      Centenarian Harold Weary was given the Founders’ Award by the Library Board for his contribution of over 40 years of volunteer work, and Jackie Hinaber was honored as Illinois Library Association Trustee of the Year.

      Visit of MPPL staff to Sèvres as part of the Mount Prospect Sister City Commission delegation; installation of new security gates with RFID security and application of RFID for circulation check in and check out; 85% of collection has been tagged with RFID; second floor was redesigned to improve patron access to collections; the Sunrise Rotary of Mount Prospect built a storybook house for the youth services early literacy area; weather brought blizzard, tornado and flooding all of which affected the Library; e-book revolution was in full swing after the 2010 holiday season with gift e-readers; Jackie Hinaber was honored with the ILA Trustee of the Year award; Harold Weary, age 102 was given the Founders’ Award by the Library Board for his contribution of over 40 years of volunteer work.

    • 2012

      A new strategic plan for 2013-2015 was completed; Express Checkout began May 8; credit/debit ability to pay fines started with the Express Checkout; a completely redesigned website ( – new look and functionality – was rolled out in June; first ever Skype visit with an author (Avi); teen e-newsletter for school librarians was initiated; South Branch space was increased as part of the Community Connections Center expansion.

    • 2013

      mppl 70th anniversary LOGO

      Library celebrated 70th anniversary; received 3 star rating by Library Journal; was selected as one of the Chicago Tribune’s Top 100 Workplaces for 2013; installed three Express Check out stations for checking out materials; Facebook page for Library was rolled out; teens initiated Instagram account; Library became charter member of LIRA (Libraries of Illinois Risk Agency) insurance consortium; was nominated by patron for $1,000 elfa makeover from Container store and used the award to improve the youth programming niche; completed the RFID and CD case conversion projects; hosted author Holly Black presentation; artwork of Enrique Suarez was hung in the South Branch.

    • 2014

      Selected again as one of the Chicago Tribune’s Top 100 Workplaces for 2014; installed the automatic materials return sorter; rolled out Enterprise for the new online catalog; honored Sharon Grieger with the 2014 Founders’ Award; honored as Mount Prospect Chamber’s Community and Business Partner of the Year; 10 year anniversary of the renovated and expanded building; began a Twitter account; received Digital Grant, Dimensions of Life in Mount Prospect; received ALA Building STEAM with Día Grant; passing of Harold Weary at 105.

    • 2015

      Selected for third year as one of the Chicago Tribune’s Top 100 Workplaces; completion of the Discovery Zone for grade school children in Youth Services; second floor construction to reconfigure spaces was completed by December; received the Business Partner of the Year from the Mount Prospect Chamber of Commerce; completed the strategic plan for 2016-2019; Mount Prospect Entrepreneurs Initiative (MPEI) was formed based on pre-existing partnership among Library, Chamber, Downtown Merchants Association and Village; initiated a Pinterest account for the public; received Building STEAM grant from ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) to expand Día programming; received digital grant from the State Library for Dimensions of Life in Mount Prospect project; combined the Information and Reference service desks; started the Library-Wide Technology Training Initiative to improve staff technical skills; first mini golf fundraising event by the Mount Prospect Public Library Foundation; upgraded the public WiFi system.

    • 2016

      History Revealed time capsuleSelected for fourth year as one of the Chicago Tribune’s Top 100 Workplaces; main page of was redesigned; strategic long range furnishings plan was completed; hosted the unveiling of the contents in Village time capsule from 1975 as part of the Centennial celebration; circulation and renewal policies were simplified; partnered with the Village Sister City Commission and VFW to bring the Sèvres produced D-Day film to Mount Prospect; retirement of Cathy Deane, Deputy Director Public Services.

  • 2017

    Selected for fifth year as one of the Chicago Tribune’s Top 100 Workplaces; Library was chosen to be included in the Tribune’s magazine accompanying the awards and was highlighted in an article on meaningful work; local Bulgarian residents partnered with us to provide a Bulgarian collection and to celebrate, the Bulgarian Consulate General of Chicago came to speak at the grand opening; began offering RBdigital audio e-books; significant changes to the Leadership team because of retirements of Larry D’Urso (Head of Fiction/AV/Teen), Nancy Prichard (Head of Collection Management), Jo Robinson (Assistant Head of Research) and Martha Johnson (Head of Registration); changed reservation software to SignUp/Spaces; Library played a key role in the Village’s Centennial celebration e.g., 1992 time capsule opening, compiling resident messages for the future into a book for the inclusion in 2067 time capsule, and other joint programming.