Lake Forest Library

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Lake Forest Library

The Lake Forest Library is the public library serving Lake Forest, Illinois, United States. It is located at 360 E. Deerpath, Lake Forest, Illinois.


  • Registered borrowers: 15,518 (80% of population)[1]
  • Annual circulation: 376,144 items (19.4 per capita)[1]
  • Square footage: 32,800[2]
  • Total holdings: 151,535 (print, audio visual, software, and hardware items)[3]


The Lake Forest Library was chartered on July 4, 1898 by Mayor Edward F. Gorton, and opened on the second floor of the new city hall as part of that building's opening on June 24, 1899.[4] The first library board members, appointed by Mayor Gorton soon after granting the charter, were J. J. Halsey, D. W. Hartman, Calvin Durand, George S. Holt, Charles S. Frost, John Kemp, David B. Jones, Richard G. Watson, and David Fales.[4]

The library moved to its current location in 1931. The present building, designed as a library by architect Edwin H. Clark, was given to the city by Mrs. Charles H. Schweppe and Mrs. Stanley Keith in memory of Mrs. Keith's first husband, Kersey Coates Reed, and was dedicated on June 7, 1931. The library's name was changed from Lake Forest Public Library to Lake Forest Library in 1935 after Board President Alfred E. Hamill petitioned the City Council for the change as a gesture of courtesy to the donors of the library.[4] Library service milestones, significant changes to the building, and Directors' names and years are listed below:[5][6][7]

1898 July 4: Library Charter by Lake Forest City Council
1899 June 24: Library opens on top floor of Lake Forest City Hall
Marie A. Skinner begins as Library Director (position held until November 1903)
1903: Mary Van Horne begins as Library Director in November (position held until 1910)
1905: First catalog listing books by author and subject
1910: Esther K. Johnston begins as Library Director (position held until 1916)
1916: Frances Kemp begins as Library Director on April 1 (position held until March 1, 1923)
1923: Stella R. Glasgow begins as Library Director on March 1 (position held until 1945)
1926-31: Architectural Landscape drawings prepared for the Foundation for Architecture and Landscape Architecture installed at the library.
1931 Jun 7: New building opens at 360 E. Deerpath (Edwin Clark, architect)
1931: "Archer" covered limestone bas-relief by Oskar J. W. Hansen installed in the library's rotunda.
1932: Nicolai Remisoff's oil on canvas mural "Poets and Writers of Antiquity" installed in library's rotunda. U. Langenegger's wood sculpture busts of Ralph Waldo Emerson (Friends Reading Room) and John Greenleaf Whittier (reference room) installed.
1935: The library's name was changed from Lake Forest Public Library to Lake Forest Library "as a gesture of appreciation to the donors
Mrs. Reed and Mrs. Schweppe." (from Library Board Minutes dated September 24, 1935)
1945: Nell Steele begins as Library Director (position held until June 1962)
1953: Summer reading program for children
1962: Frances M. Macke begins as Library Director on July 1 (position held until September 1968)
1965-66: Frances R. "Gine" Odell's "Lion and Lamb" limestone sculpture installed in west courtyard.
1967: Installation in Children's Department of bronze and wood sculpture "Apple Tree Children" by Sylvia Shaw Judson, daughter of Howard Van Doren Shaw.
Interlibrary Loan Service begins.
Young Adult collection established.
1968: Louise Wells Kasian begins as Library Director in September (position held until 1978)
1975: Friends of Lake Forest Library formed
1976: Friends of Lake Forest Library first book sale
1978: Addition of three wings underwritten by community gifts and a substantial donation from the Reed family (Brenner, Danforth, and Rockwell, architects)
Computerized circulation
Sydney S. Mellinger begins as Library Director on September 26 (position held until April 1, 1988)
"Seagulls" quartz sculpture by Dorothy Hobbs Boehm installed (currently in Fine Arts Room locked case).
1979: "Flora and Fauna of Illinois" needlepoint tapestry designed by Lydia Lee; assisted by Kathleen McLaughlin Ballen; stitched by :::Lake Forest - Lake Bluff Needlepeople installed in former garden room (now business room).
"Girl Feeding Three Squirrels" bronzed sculpture by Dorothy Hobbs Boehm installed (now on east exterior of Children's Activity Room)
1982: Open Sundays
1983-1984: "Someone To Look Up To" watercolor diptych by Caroline Roberts installed in Children's Library
1987: Public Access Catalog service begins
1988: Kaye Grabbe begins as Library Director on April 11 (position held until April 30, 2016)
Wolfgang Kubach & Anna Maria Kubach-Wilmsen's "Lake Forest Library Stone Book" marble sculpture installed in east courtyard in August.
George S. Chappell's set of four photographs, "The Seasons" installed in foyer stairway (now in Reference Room Annex).
1990: Three-level book stack renovation
1992: Children's Department renovation, including Thomas Melvin mural for Children's foyer commissioned in memory of Douglas Keyt by Friends of Lake Forest Library
1993: "Market Square" (set of two watercolors) by David T. Roberts installed in reference annex.
1995: Public Internet access and Library web site started
1996: Adult Reference room, Reference Annex, and Reading Room renovations(Reading Room dedicated to Frank Kreuz and named "Friends Reading Room")
Michael Croydon's, "Ex Libris" sculpture commissioned and installed on the library's front lawn
Local Area Network available
1997: Restoration of the Nicolai Remisoff "Poets and Writers of Antiquity" murals originally installed in 1932(restoration funded by Friends of Lake Forest Library)
Dial-in access to Local Area Network
1998: Stained glass windows installed in Children's foyer by Alexander Glass Company, Rolling Meadows, Illinois.
"Seasons" hand-painted ceramic tiles by Yvette Levita-Scimeca installed in children's restrooms.
"Lake Forest Library" watercolor painting by Mark McMahon was commissioned by Friends of Lake Forest Library in honor of the Library's Centennial and installed in foyer.
"Troll Under Bridge" conte crayon drawing by Ruth Tietjen Councell installed in Children's Library. Created during the Centennial kick-off celebration in May.
1998-1999: Digitized Community Cornerstone Architectural files
Library Centennial
Friends commissioned Mark McMahon painting of the building
Book cart at Forest Park Beach
2001: Completion of the Louise Wells Kasian Children's Activity Center in the space of the former children's courtyard,
designed by David Woodhouse Architects.
Integrated Library System migration from GEAC to Sirsi
2nd Local Area Network upgrade
2001-2003: John James Audubon's ten aquatint engravings from "The Birds of America" restored by Kenyon Oppenheimer, Inc. (now Joel Oppenheimer, Inc.), funded by Friends of Lake Forest Library, memorial gifts, and the Library.
2003: Business Room renovation funded by the Eugene A. and Emily L. Veto Foundation and Friends of Lake Forest Library
2004: Mark McMahon painting of Friends Book Sale
2004-2007: Friends Landscape Plan
2005: Fine Arts Room renovation funded by Friends of Lake Forest Library.
2006: Garden Room refurbished
3rd Local Area Network upgrade
Wireless access
24/7 reference service, AskAway
75th Anniversary of the library building (June 7)
NetLibrary first e audio book download service
2007: Alfred Medica memorial sculpture at front entrance (Peter Hessemer, sculptor)
1st Friends June Children's book sale in foyer
2008: Staff Room renovated
Wikipedia entry for Lake Forest Library
2009: Renovation of Children's Library including the commissioning of additional Thomas Melvin murals(stairwells, over circulation desk, over north area, and elevator and emergency exit doors by Friends of Lake Forest Library
Overdrive eBooks and eAudiobooks available
Online Mango Language service
Building-wide CCTV system installed
2010: Social Networking: Facebook, Twitter
Freegal Music free music downloads
Franklin McMahon painting of Hemingway's house in Key West
2011: Social Networking: FourSquare and QR codes
DVD2GO (Media Bank) self-serve DVD unit at west side (Milwaukee Road) train station
2012: New web site:
e-Pay for patrons
Slate roof restored
New signage in Children's Library
Initial year for the One Book One City program
2013: Window restoration
Zinio downloadable magazines
One Book One City program continues as Lake Forest Reads: Ragdale (a partnership with The Ragdale Foundation)
2014: New signage in adult areas
3M eBooks
Media Lab, designed by Dewberry (architecture and interior design)
Second year of Lake Forest Reads: Ragdale (a partnership with The Ragdale Foundation)
2015: Exterior east stair railing replaced and redesigned
Restoration of exterior courtyard gates
Third year of Lake Forest Reads: Ragdale (a partnership with The Ragdale Foundation)
2016: Digitization of Lake Forester newspaper from 1899-1940.
Hoopla e-content service added
Courtyard doors and stairwell carpeting replaced
Director Kaye Grabbe retires in April after 28 years
Retiring Director Kaye Grabbe gives library Franklin McMahon original watercolor "Reading the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights"
Catherine A. Lemmer begins as Library Director on May 16.
Fourth year of Lake Forest Reads: Ragdale (a partnership with The Ragdale Foundation)


  1. ^ a b "Lake Forest Library FY 2017 Annual Report" Lake Forest Library: June, 2017.
  2. ^ "Welcome to Lake Forest Library" (Brochure Draft) Lake Forest Library: 2008.
  3. ^ "Lake Forest Library Property Record FY2018"
  4. ^ a b c Mellinger, Sydney S. "The History of Lake Forest Library." Presented at the joint annual meetings of The Friends of Lake Forest Library and The Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Historical Society: May 3, 1981.
  5. ^ "History of the Lake Forest Library". Lake Forest Library.
  6. ^ "Lake Forest Library Milestones" Lake Forest Library: February 28, 2014.
  7. ^ "Lake Forest Library Directors" Lake Forest Library: June 12, 2017 revision of list created for Library Centennial.

External links[edit]

Lake Forest Library homepage
Illinois Digital Archives (IDA) Lake Forest Library Archive - includes images and history of the library
City of Lake Forest homepage
Lake Forest - Lake Bluff Historical Society homepage

Coordinates: 42°15′08″N 87°50′18″W / 42.2522°N 87.8382°W / 42.2522; -87.8382