The Rock Island Public Library reflects the Citys fine traditional support for education and quality of life. It is the oldest library in the state, established as a Reading Association in 1855 and then opening in 1872 as the first official free library in Illinois. Since then it has grown in ways the founders could not have imagined.
The 12,546 volumes in 1872 has expanded to almost 212,000 volumes. This fine collection of books and magazines now includes musical recordings, books on tape and compact disks, multimedia kits, educational and entertainment videos, and books in Large Print format. All ages and interests are represented, nonfiction and fiction, bestsellers, classics and a full range of materials geared specifically to children, parents and caregivers. The Library offers free public access to the Internet and World Wide Web, as well as a number of resources on CD-ROM.
In addition to expanded materials, the Rock Island Public Library also offers programs for children and adults, including story hours, Parent/Tot programs and special outreach programs with schools. The Library hosts a popular lecture series on authors, displays by local artists and a variety of other programs.
The Rock Island Public Library has also grown from our Carnegie-era Main Library to encompass two additional residential branches. The 30/31 Branch was just expanded and remodeled to include a computer center, drive-up window and a Friends of the Library coffee shop and booksale room. It offers a selection of materials in all formats and specializes in programs for children. The Southwest Branch is under expansion and renovation currently as well to include a much larger collection, expanded computer access and a community room. Both branches have specialized homework resources and assistance from our Young Adult Librarian.
The Rock Island Public Library is a member of the QuadLINC library consortium that networks 26 member libraries into a shared system. This means residents of Rock Island can access the catalog from home, place reserves, see what they have checked out request books to be delivered from other libraries. Rock Island residents can use their library cards to check out materials at the other libraries, including college and university libraries and public libraries in neighboring cities.
Rock Island has nurtured the educational and cultural strengths of its residents through over 125 years of strong library service and is continuing that tradition into the future.
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