Northbrook Public Library

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Northbrook Public Library
LocationNorthbrook, Illinois
Size337,300 (2012)
Access and use
Circulation856,000 (2012)
Population served33,170 (2010)
Other information
Budget$6M (2012)
DirectorKate Hall

The Northbrook Public Library, located at 1201 Cedar Lane, serves the 33,170 residents[1] of the Village of Northbrook, Illinois. The library received 470,700 visitors and circulated 856,000 items from its collection of 337,300 books, audio materials and videos in 2012.[2] Library Journal gave the Northbrook Public Library its highest rating of 5 stars in 2012 and 2013 based on circulation, visits, program attendance and public internet use per capita.[3][4]


The Northbrook Public Library first opened on June 30, 1952, following a referendum spearheaded by Bertram Pollak, president of the Northbrook Civic Association, C. E. Barthel, Jr., who became the library board president, and Carolyn A. Landwehr, who became the library board secretary. The library was originally housed in meeting and office space at the village hall (now the Northbrook Civic Foundation building) with a capacity for 6,500 volumes.[5] Freda Thorson was the first librarian.[6] In 1953, the Northbrook Civic Association provided funds of $27,500 to build a new, one-story library at the corner of Shermer and Church Street that could accommodate 12,000 volumes.[7] The new library was dedicated on March 21, 1954.[6]

By 1967, the library had exceeded its capacity with a collection of 31,000 volumes, and voters approved a referendum for a new building at the library's current location at the corner of Cedar and Cherry, on the bank of the West Fork of the North Branch of the Chicago River. The library was designed by the architecture firm of Hammond and Roesch and cost $1 million.[8] The new steel frame building had 28,000 square feet of floor space and room for 110,000 volumes. The main part of the library was on a single floor raised above ground level to provide views and to protect the collection from the river flooding. The design earned a Distinguished Building Award from the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.[9][6] Opening day was May 25, 1969.[10]

The library building has undergone two major expansions. In 1999, a $10.5 million addition gave the library a new third floor—housing the fiction and multimedia collections—as well as an enlarged children's department, study rooms, classrooms, and banks of computer terminals on the second floor.[11] In 2014, a $6.5 million construction project began to renovate the first floor meeting rooms and create a modern auditorium with tiered seating.[12]


  1. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Northbrook village, Illinois". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  2. ^ "Public Libraries in the United States Survey". Institute of Museum and Library Services. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  3. ^ Lyons, Ray; Lance, Keith Curry (November 8, 2012). "LJ Index 2012: The Star Libraries". Library Journal. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  4. ^ Lyons, Ray; Lance, Keith Curry (November 1, 2013). "LJ Index 2013: All the Stars, State by State". Library Journal. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  5. ^ "Open Library Tomorrow in North Suburb: Northbrook Board Provides Space." (June 29, 1952). Chicago Daily Tribune, p. N1.
  6. ^ a b c Downey, Doug. (September 1992; updated November 2002). History of the Northbrook Public Library.
  7. ^ "Northbrook Gift: Northbrook to Get New Library as a Gift." (July 30, 1953). Chicago Daily Tribune, p. N1.
  8. ^ "Expect Northbrook Library by '68." (Feb. 5, 1967). Chicago Tribune, p. N4.
  9. ^ "New Northbrook Library." (April 4, 1971). Chicago Tribune, p. D1.
  10. ^ "Northbrook Library Plans Opening." (May 25, 1969). Chicago Tribune, p. N15.
  11. ^ Leavitt, Irv. "Library's Digs Offer New Perks." (October 21, 1999). Northbrook Star, p. 26.
  12. ^ Leavitt, Irv. "Library Board, Builders Tame High Bids." (April 24, 2014). Northbrook Star, p. 7.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°7′45″N 87°50′27″W / 42.12917°N 87.84083°W / 42.12917; -87.84083