Our mission is to provide information, resources, and support for personal growth and education in a positive environment that enhances the life and development of the community.
Visit us: 110 S Elm St, Waterman, IL
Clinton Township Public Library
PO Box 299
Waterman, IL, 60556
Please note that our building is not physically accessible as stairs are required to enter the building and access all areas including the restrooms. Gender-neutral, single-person restroom available.
History of the Clinton Township Public Library
The Waterman Women's Club began the Clinton Township Public Library as a reading room in 1904. A committee solicited books, periodicals, and cash contributions until the club had a large enough collection to justify renting a room above Dean's Drug Store. Until 1910, the club financed the library through various fundraising projects. The reading room successfully petitioned the voters of Clinton Township to elect a library board and to establish a tax-supported public library in 1911.
Funding from Andrew Carnegie was first requested by a representative of the women's club in 1905, but formal application was not made until June 14, 1911. This application, sent in by the library board of trustees, met with no response, so the board wrote again on August 6, 1912. On January 31, 1913, Clinton Township was offered $3500 for library construction.
A special election was called and voters passed a resolution to support annually a new library with at least 10 percent of the $3500 request from Carnegie. In 1913, at a township meeting, a request was made for a two-and-a-half-mill tax, the money to be used for constructing a basement under the proposed library. A site at the end of Main Street was chosen because it was centrally located in the village. Community members joined together and dug the basement with horse-drawn scoops, although work on the building itself was delayed until June 29, 1914 due to a brick makers' strike. Designed by the architectural firm of Ashby and Sons of Chicago, the square brick building was constructed by Benjamin Zolper and Sons of Mendota, Illinois.
At the time of construction, Clinton Township was the smallest governmental unit in the United States to have secured a Carnegie library, and remains one of the smallest Carnegie libraries standing today. Although the library's structure remains essentially unchanged, a number of improvements have been made over the years- including some electrical rewiring, replacement of the original fixtures with fluorescent lights, installation of a dropped ceiling, and replacement of the carpet. The interior walls are now also covered with pecan paneling, which was gifted to the library in 1975.
Since 1916, one of the duties of the librarian has been to keep a historical scrapbook of news items of important events which have occurred in the village and township. This includes personal items such as births, obituaries, and weddings, as well as clippings about various organizations, schools and churches. These are available to view in-person at the library as part of our archive.