The West Frankfort Public Library was organized March 3, 1927 with only a handful of books. The facility began in cramped quarters at 1102 East Main Street. A petition for a tax levy followed in 1928, affording the library board the opportunity to purchase real estate located at 910 East Main in 1929.
What began as the Crim Memorial Library operates today as the West Frankfort Public Library. The structure of the First Christian Church constructed in October 1905 and located on East Poplar was given to the city for the purpose of a library, following the church’s move to a different location. The library was housed in this structure from 1937 until 1965 when the building was demolished for a new facility.
In 1958 the citizens of West Frankfort organized conferences on financing, site acquisition, architectural design, type and location of books stacks and furnishings, parking lots, and expanded services for the community. The presentation of a floor plan for a new library unfolded on January 30, 1963. On April 3,1965 a bond issue to build a new library passed and an open house was held in the new library on September 4, 1966.
The library housed 15,000 volumes in 1965 compared with today’s 40,000. In 1997 the library became full members of the Automated System through the Shawnee Library System which was incorporated into the Illinois Heartland Library System in 2013, patrons have access to over a 9 million items, and all cataloging and circulation are fully automated.
Throughout the library’s history Board presidents have included Rev C.S. Tripp, Frank Trobaugh, Afton Wolfe, Ladonne Treece, Betsy Wallace, and Bill LeVanti.
Della Seal, Lulu Green, Myrtle W Cox, Mrs. J.W.Holland, Cora Griffin, Helen Clem, Kay Herstedt, and Sarah Jane Alexander, and Pam Sevenski have worked as Librarians / Directors.
The library including a children’s reading room, an adult seating area, reference area, and community room is the focus of many programs, including the popular Summer Reading Program for children.