The LaCrosse Public Library heritage begins in May 1936 as a township library and occupied a room in the Methodist Annex Building. In October 1938, it relocated to the room at the rear of the J. V. Collier Insurance and Attorney Howard DeMyer offices.
In 1934, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad furnished a site on the corner of Main Street, which is Indiana 8, and Gibson Street for a log cabin. Men from LaCrosse, the Kankakee Valley Conservation Club, and veterans from World War I constructed the log cabin. Stone was brought from Joliet, Illinois, by the Monon Railroad.
The purpose of the log cabin was to provide a place for the local Boy Scouts. In 1940, the Boy Scouts discontinued using the cabin. A decision was made to move the library into the log cabin. Mrs. R. W. Keller served as the librarian until March of 1963. The log cabin was demolished in 2000. The chimney was left standing, and a picnic shelter was built around it. This is on the corner of Main and Gibson Streets.
In December of 1961 the library moved to the back portion of the Regional News building. The library then purchased and renovated the Regional News building in December of 1985 which allowed the library to expand into the whole building therefore doubling their size to 1,035 square feet.
The LaCrosse Public Library outgrew that building. The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) gave our library a planning grant, which allowed us to hire an architect to develop a set of building plans. Since we qualified as a low -to moderate- income community, we were eligible to receive a construction grant from OCRA. We raised additional local commitment funds to help secure the OCRA grant. These funds provided shelving, furniture, technology, contingencies, and miscellaneous items for the new library. These funds were in place when we submitted our application for the OCRA grant in September 2007.
Library patrons are primarily from Dewey Township, which includes the town of LaCrosse; however, we have a substantial amount of patrons from surrounding communities of LaPorte County and Porter County. The library is open six days per week. Library services also include large print books, computers with Internet access, faxing, and copying. The library provides a story hour for preschool children on Wednesday mornings, a monthly adult book discussion group, a summer youth reading program, the only local source for patrons to borrow VHS movies and DVDs, monthly blood pressure checks, and a yearly flu shot clinic by the VNA.
The new library is four times larger than our previous location, allowing adequate space for current and future programs to be on-site instead of currently using off-site locations. It provides more room to expand the library’s inventory and computers, a meeting room for the library and community to use, and provides staff office and work areas.
The library became a Class I library in December 1982 with a seven-member board. With the Class I status, the library board has been able to take advantage of opportunities to apply for grants like the one from Federal Library Services and Construction Act when they purchased and renovated the Regional News building in December 1985, which allowed the library to expand into the whole building therefore doubling their size.
Since April 1963, the library has been under the leadership of librarian, Patricia L. Spiess. In 1971, a preschool story hour started and continues on today. Our programs implemented under her leadership include a youth summer reading program, an adult book discussion group, monthly blood pressure checks, and a fall flu shot clinic.
The Board of Trustees believes that the new library will be an asset to the LaCrosse community by allowing the library to expand its programs and service to the community better. The building will also reflect the heritage of LaCrosse, which is enhanced in the railroad history.
The dedication and open house was held for the new library on September 26, 2009.
@ Copyright LaCrosse Public Library 2013 – 2017