The Silvis Library has been a cornerstone of our community for over 100 years. Throughout that time, the library (and community) have undergone a lot of changes. As the city has grown, so has our library.

As early as November of 1911, the Silvis Woman’s Club began collecting books and looking for a location for a library. When the new City Hall was completed in 1922, an area on the lower level was designated as the permanent home of the library. The first version of the Summer Reading Program was started in the spring of 1931. The library purchased 300 “Books I Have Read” booklets and sponsored a reading contest for school children. Awards were offered and the booklets were sold to the children for five cents each.

In 1971, the library moved to its current home, 806 1st Avenue – formally the Clearfield Dairy building. Reading programs, story times, silent movies with piano accompaniment began in earnest. Early 1980 saw the advent of a computer for the library to track overdues, fines, reserves, circulation, etc.

In 2001, thanks to a $100,000 State grant, the library underwent a major expansion project. The new addition created an extended children’s area, a young adult area, a new adult reading area, a workroom, the director’s office, and a quiet room.

In 2016, additional building renovations were completed. A new entrance on the east side of the building was created; with a vestibule enclosed from the elements with handicapped accessibility. All the floors were raised to one level; public access computers were increased; and a new drive-up book drop was installed for the library’s patrons.

Which brings us to our most current update – completed in November of this year. Library Director, Amy Fry-Gordon, began this project two years ago and said her end goal was to “provide the community with what they need; what they have asked for.”

First, we tackled the technology requests. We moved to fiber-optic internet service and strengthened our Wi-Fi signal; added printing capabilities at our teen computers and in our study rooms; upgraded to digital phone service – going from one line to three; converted to LED lighting throughout the building; and added SumUp for cashless transactions. Next, we completed the outdoor renovations. The parking lot was leveled and asphalted; the back portion of the building was painted; and an outdoor programming area was added that includes a handicapped accessible picnic table, planters/flowers, and benches. Finally, we moved to the interior projects. All library shelving was replaced, and signage was added. The Programming Room was completely updated, including new cabinets/countertop, flooring, tables and 70” television. An adult seating area, with a custom bench and access to electrical outlets was created. Throughout the building, colorful artwork was installed – including a series of original paintings by local artist, Johnnie Cluney. Bulletin boards, furniture, and games were added to the Children and Teen Areas.

“All of the improvements came from patron and staff suggestions,” Amy says. “Our community needs have been at the forefront of library development for the last 100 years and will continue to be.”

Until COVID restrictions are lifted, you can only check out the interior changes virtually. We will host an in-person Grand Re-Opening as soon as possible. For now, you can find our 360 tour on Google Maps, our Facebook page, and website (www.silvislibrary.org). Additional photos and videos will be included in our January e-newsletter.

A reminder – despite COVID restrictions, the Silvis Public Library is still hosting a virtual Winter Reading Program, adult and children programming, curbside checkout and printing services. Visit our Facebook page for more information!

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Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.