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The mission of the Lillie M. Evans Library District is to provide materials and services to help residents meet their personal, educational, cultural, and professional needs. The Lillie M. Evans Library District supports an environment for life-long learning and is dedicated to making the Princeville community an attractive place in which to live, visit, and work.
History of the LME Library District
The first meeting for the purpose of establishing a public library in the village of Princeville was held in the Village Hall, May 31, 1927. The first library was located in a building on Main Street. For many years, the books in circulation were, for the most part, gifts from friends, civic organizations, churches, and clubs. Due to the fact that the library was not tax supported, money for the purchase of new books came from many activities initiated by the public such as: Chautauquas, dinners, and home-talent plays.
The library remained in its original quarters until 1943 when it was evident that more space was needed. In March of 1943, the collection was moved to the former State Bank Building, where it remained until June, 1946. A bequest from Dr. Charles Cutter to the library of a thirteen acre tract of land, and the homestead of the Cutter family, allowed the library to operate for several years and the ownership of this land and its sale provided the means to purchase a building (the old Auten Bank Building), which housed the library from 1946 until September 1956.
In 1956 Lillie M. Evans made a new library building and its furnishings possible through the conditions of her will. She left about $250,000 for "the erecting and equipping of a public library in the Village of Princeville, in Peoria County, Illinois, to be perpetually known and designated as the Lillie M. Evans Library". A condition of the will was that the "Village must agree to give satisfactory assurance that said Village will provide for the upkeep and preservation of said library building and equipment and provide for the operation of said library so as to reasonably meet the demands and needs of the inhabitants of the Village". On September 9, 1956, the library celebrated an open house in the new building and has been in that location ever since.
An annexation referendum in November of 1990 enlarged the boundaries to those of the school district, Princeville CUSD # 326.
An open house was held on August 25, 2001 to celebrate the newly remodeled and enlarged library. This project was partially funded through a library construction grant awarded by the Illinois State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State, Jesse White. The $250,000 grant was matched by local funds. The Library building project added an addition of 4,000 square feet. The building contains two public bathrooms, a meeting room with a seating capacity for fifty and equipment for multimedia presentations, seven computer workstations with Internet connections, a quiet study room, a reading room, a new storeroom for periodicals, a new staff work area, and a new office.