One of the most potent factors in the intellectual life of our village is the Wilmette Free Public Library, located one short block west of the North Western Station. The present building, of characteristic Carnegie type, was first occupied in 1905, and since then each year the activity of the library has shown a substantial increase.
It contains at present about 6000 volumes, including beside fiction, works on History, Fine and Industrial Arts, Natural Sciences, Philosophy, Religion, Sociology and Economics, with various subdivisions under each, and other general literature--in fact, something for everyone who comes in good faith, man, woman or child.
The circulation the last 12 months was 22,508.
In order to keep our relations with the public as intimate as possible, we co-operate constantly with individuals, clubs, and reading-circles, and are most glad to honor their book-lists, where these do not tend to overdevelop the library along special lines, thus impairing its efficiency as a general library.
However, we are aiming not merely to meet the demands of the public, but to create and stimulate further demands. At the beginning of the European War a collection of books relative to the countries participating was placed on the shelves, and others are being added, not ephemeral works, but works of merit, whose extensive circulation shows a manifest interest in the subject.
A foreign literature department was introduced last year beginning with German books, much enjoyed by the large German element in our population.
The reference department offers further opportunity for acquiring familiarity with the best thought of mankind, whether found in old classical works or in master intellects of a later day.
The library's largest growth has been in the children's department due largely to the cordial relations and intelligent co-operation between library and school authorities. The circulation of children's books for the last month was about 5000.
With the kind assistance of a number of young women in the village we have conducted a story-telling hour for children from 4 to 123 years of age, once a week during the school vacations. The attendance averaged about 25.
We cannot expect to overcome all the narrowing and vulgarizing influence that surround some of our children and young people, but with constant emphasis on wholesome, attractive, interesting books, we may help to develop correct reading habits and good taste in literature.
Have you a library card? Are you one of our patrons? With your loyalty and support we can make the functions of the library more far-reaching, rendering greater service to a wider public.