Mission Statement & Library History
Throughout its history, the South Park Township Library has been an important part of South Park Township and the surrounding area.
Our Mission Statement
South Park Township Library is
"The hub of lifelong learning."
In pursuing its mission, the South Park Township Library values:
- The free and equal access to information, resources, and materials in traditional, technological, and innovative formats;
- An individual's quest for lifelong learning of cultural enrichment and intellectual stimulation;
- The promotion of literacy activities and programs for all ages;
- The cultivation of a skillful and professional staff as they are our most valuable resource;
- The acceptance of diverse points of view and acknowledge trust and respect to all;
- The personal development and discovery, which enriches and empowers every patron;
- An individual's pursuit for computer proficiency;
- The acceptance of change in a positive way;
- The partnerships we ensue with local enterprises, interest groups, and other professionals at local, regional, and national levels;
- The ideas pronounced by the American Library Association (ALA) in the Library Bill of Rights, by the ALA and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) in the Freedom to Read Statement by the ALA and the American Film and Video Association (AFVA) in the Freedom to View Policy.
In The Beginning...
The section of South Park Township known as Library was named because of the presence of a private library collection in the home of John Moore. Around 1833, John Moore began a fund to purchase books and subsequently became the first librarian of the new collection. Other members of the community added to the library, so the number of volumes grew to about 2,000. This neighborhood group of library members formed a "Library Society". The last librarian, in this era, was Samuel Wilson, a blacksmith who stored the collection in his stable.
The First Free Public Library
South Park Township's first free public library found its 1960 residence in a room at the end of Wilson Hall, the site of the Windover Hills United Methodist Church, sponsored by the Windover Hills Women's Club. They staffed, funded, and literally nurtured its growth. Services at the library included children's fiction, reference materials, adult best sellers, and general fiction. The core collection was built by donation, a flashback to the historic library in Library. Membership for children under 16 was free and $1.50 for adult cardholders. Funding was made possible by the Women's Club through Card Marathons, which would not have been successful without community support. All this by volunteers, until in 1968, the library was faced with its first of many subsequent moves.
The Chamber of Commerce gets Involved
The Windover Hills Women's Club found it necessary and provident to enlist the help of the South Park Chamber of Commerce with the move out of the soon-to-be demolished room at Wilson Hall. The Chamber set up a Township Library Building Fund and a Library Committee in conjunction with the continuous fundraising events of the Women's Club. With Chamber support, the library would realize, in 1969, a permanent home in a brand-new building next to the Township Building; however, completion of the new site was not possible by the time of the move from Wilson Hall. The School Board, therefore, granted the library the use of a room in Broughton School (Morgan School). Many other community groups, including the South Park Women's Club, contributed to the building fund at this time. In early 1969, the move to Broughton School was accomplished by volunteers, of course, including a hearty group of Boy Scouts.
Temporary But Never Undaunted...
In February of 1969, the Broughton School, a temporary library site, was opened to the public. Hours were on Wednesday and Friday evenings, and the services were continually sponsored by the Windover Hills Women's Club with a warm invitation sent out to all community members. The Library Fund Drive officially began on March 17, 1969, steered by the Library Committee of the Chamber of Commerce. All funds were donated by the community, and the land was provided by South Park Township. The South Park Township Library was on its way to becoming a realized integral part of the community.
Ground was broken for the library building on August 17, 1969. Representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, the Board, and the Township Supervisors were present. The feeling of community pride and accomplishment reverberated throughout the ceremony.
In the winter of the following year, the building was completed, and a formal open house took place on December 6, 1970. Many months had passed since the initial fund drive had begun, yet the many hours of free labor and community donations had truly accomplished their goal.
Library service was provided by a volunteer staff with a volunteer librarian. The hours of operation were expanded to Tuesday and Thursday eveninsg and Saturday afternoon. Membership fees were $1.50 for adults, $5.00 for the family, and free to all children under the age of 13, who lived in South Park Township. The internal structure of the library's operating system was also changing with the new building. The Windover Hills Women's Club relinquished their Library Committee as the volunteer corps of the library. All their materials were officially donated to the new community library. They continued to volunteer as individuals but not as a club committee. A supervisory board was established at this time continuing the name, Library Committee, and later changing it to the present Library Board. The Township provided the funds for support services, such as telephone and utility bills.
A New Heritage Of Library Service...
October 2, 1974 marked an important occasion for the Library; the first meeting of a new organization in South Park: The Friends of the South Park Township Library. The Friends was organized as a "group of individuals who are interested in the welfare of their library and willing to devote time and effort to make it a better library." The primary objectives of the group were devised and are listed as follows:
- to stimulate increased awareness and resulting use of the library;
- to stimulate increased financial support, public and private;
- to coordinate efforts of all groups and individuals interested in the library;
- to promote the greatest use of the library; and,
- to sponsor cultural and related programs for the community.
Membership fees in the Friends are used as a yearly contribution to the library, along with many other fund-raising campaigns. The design of the Friends harkens back to the Library Committee of the Windover Hills Women's Club.
In order to fulfill the goals and objectives established by the Friends, programs such as a pre-school story hour, a Volunteer Service with training done by the veteran volunteers and various fund-raisers (Craft Sessions, etc.) were devised. The volunteers manned the library at all times and expanded the hours to Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday during the day and Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
By the summer of 1975, the library had grown sufficiently to support a part-time librarian as the first paid position on the staff. Volunteers from the community directed by the Friends of the Library were functioning as the support staff, with many women who started as members of the Windover Hills Women's Club participating.
Increasing Township Government Commitment...
The Township Supervisors had continually been involved in the library, but in the spring of 1976, their support reached an all-important high. They announced their intentions to expand the municipal building, including the design of a new library. The new facility would mean approximately four times the present space. The growth of the library had become a shared responsibility between the township government, the Friends, and the public.
Again, the Friends of the Library were prepared to begin a donor drive for office equipment, furniture, and shelving for the new library. The goal was set at $25,000 by the Friends.The Chamber of Commerce and the Women's Club were enlisted to help supervise the Donor Drive. Luminaria became the Women's Club traditional fundraiser for the library. Another change was presented to the new library system, a new librarian was hired in April 1977. At this time, the library had to vacate its present building and move again, temporarily, to Morgan School until the new facility was completed. Volunteers accomplished the move. A new position was added to the library staff for a part-time clerk in the fall of 1977, due to the library service's rapid expansion.On the Move...
In January 1978, the South Park Township Library, under the auspices of the Township, moved to its present location at 2575 Brownsville Road. Without the volunteer services offered by the community, the move would not have been accomplished as quickly and easily. The organizational relationship between the Township government and the library was also altered. The Township assumed direct responsibility for the employment of a full-time professional librarian and a part-time clerk. The librarian was still dependent on volunteers to man the library depending on the amount of hours opened. The Library Board became an official council under the State Library Code and is directly responsible for the activities of the library. Three more staff positions were added to the library through the acceptance of a CETA Grant.
The Friends of the Library were overjoyed with the prospect of a new library building and succeeded in raising the money from the Donor Drive to furnish the library. They continue to this day to provide the library with storytimes, craft classes, fundraising projects and volunteers to support the library in conjunction with the objectives created by the founders of this organization.
Library Renovations and Beyond...
In 2005, the South Park Township Library began renovating the interior of the building. During the renovation process, the library added many new features including an audiovisual section filled with DVDs and CDs, additional public computer stations, the addition of a wireless network for patrons to use, a children's storytime area, a reading area complete with a fireplace and several other features to give the interior of the library a new look. The Library finished its interior renovations in February 2007.
In May 2009, the Library created a brand new section near the front desk, which became known as "The Bestseller's Collection". This collection included books, books on CD, certain DVDs, and a growing collection of Blu-Ray movies. A small collection of video games was added to "The Bestseller's Collection" in 2012.
During this time, technological improvements continued to take place at the Library. In the spring of 2010, the Library launched its own Facebook page, which is frequently updated with upcoming events and other important information. The wireless network was also upgraded multiple times to allow patrons to print things off of their own computers, in November 2010 and later improving the wireless access points, in the fall of 2014.
In 2011, a collection of FREE downloadable borrowed materials including e-Books and Audiobooks became available to library patrons at the Overdrive website.
In 2012, a collection of FREE downloadable magazines became available to library patrons through our Zinio service.
In 2014, the Freegal and Hoopla online library services were launched. Freegal en
In 2015, a Digital Sign was built along Brownsville Rd. to inform the community of all upcoming library events.
In 2016, the popular DayTrips & Destinations event series was developed for adults, which has continued through the present day.
An information display was also mounted on the wall behind the front desk to display all kinds of relevant library information.
In 2017, the library's website was completely redesigned to make things easier to find for library patrons
and other visitors. A library newsletter was also developed to inform the public of upcoming programs and other library events.
With the support of the community, it truly is a bright future at the South Park Township Library! Come check us out!