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History of the Deerfield Public Library

The first library opened its doors in Deerfield, IL in 1927 with a donated collection of 700 books that fit into one classroom at the Deerfield Grammar School. Tax support for the library was established in 1929 under the auspices of a township to increase the tax base.

In 1955, the Library Board was informed that the grammar school needed the space that housed the library’s collection. A referendum to build a small, dedicated library building for $48,000 was approved by the voters, and the library moved the collection to a temporary space to await the new building. Construction was delayed for four years, however, after a lawsuit was brought against the township library for double taxation. After resolving that issue (and losing approximately one third of the township’s library revenue), the Library Board requested a referendum be held in 1966 to dissolve the township library and create a new village library.

By 1969, the library was held in two different buildings and contained 1,000 more volumes than the total book capacity of both of them. The possibility of enlarging the library was deemed unfeasible by a study done that same year, but in November 1969 a bond issue for $1,035,000 was approved almost two to one by the people of Deerfield to build and equip a new library. That building opened in 1971 and served the community for over 40 years.

In 2010 the residents of Deerfield passed a resolution for $11,775,000 to remodel and expand the 1971 building.  In addition, the Library used $2,000,000 of its Reserves for the project. After spending a year at a nearby temporary location, the staff and materials returned to the completely remodeled building and opened for the public on June 23, 2013. One of the highlights of the Grand Reopening was having the ribbon cut by Peggy McCabe, a retired librarian who had been at the original ribbon cutting, as a library employee, 40 years earlier. The building project honored the past by retaining the architectural shapes with brick columns and walls of the past, while creating flexible interior spaces designed to accommodate changing trends well into the future.