History of the Onarga Public Library
The library was first organized as a subscription library on December 8, 1858 with members donating 150 books and each member paying $5.00 a fixed share to join. In 1861, there were 500 volumes and shares were increased to $10.00. In 1862, after obtaining funds via an excursion to Chicago, members constructed a library building.
In 1873, following a two year closure, the share-holders donated the library building and its contents to the village of Onarga provided the village assume the library’s debt and maintained the library as a public library. Village trustees accepted these conditions on March 24, 1873.
In 1906, funds were obtained from Andrew Carnegie to build a new building. The building was designed by the architect Paul O. Moratz of Bloomington, IL. It was dedicated in 1907. The library is still housed in this building.
In November of 1991, a successful referendum converted The Onarga Library to a district library encompassing all of Onarga Township. In March of 1994, Ridgeland Township was voted into the Onarga Community Public Library District. The current library strives to maintain the atmosphere of reading and study envisioned by the original founders.
The Onarga Community Public Library District will strive to meet the informational and recreational needs of the community by offering, in a fiscally responsible manner, a carefully selected and well-organized collection of library material. Said collection will be housed in an adequate facility with appropriate staff to manage all necessary library functions.