Matteson Area Public Library District

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When the Matteson Public Library opened its doors for the first time in August, 1961, it was largely thanks to the auspices of the local Lions Club. Though families in the area paid an annual fee to become cardholders, much of the financial support for books and materials arrived in the form of proceeds from benefit performances of theatrical productions sponsored by the Lions Club.

Within a few years of its opening, citizens passed a referendum allowing the Village of Matteson to collect taxes to support the young library. Community groups, too, continued to give to the library: in addition to the Lions Club, local organizations including Scout troops and the Kiwanis Club supported a variety of library activities and resources. Donations, which made such an impact in getting the library up and going in the early years, are still welcomed!

As interest and demand in its services increased, so did the need for more space. The library moved several times to accommodate the larger collections, greater programming capabilities, and changing technology. The last move was in late 1993 when the library moved into a new building that was designed and constructed to maximize functionality and convenience, and to fit into the existing neighborhood. This handsome building continues to serve as the library today, offering 29,745 square feet of interior space, plus outdoor areas for programs and story walks.

The library converted from a Village Library to a District Library in 2016. The borders of the Matteson Area Public Library District (MAPLD) match those of the Village of Matteson, enabling the library to serve the nearly 20,000 residents of the village. It operates with an annual budget of $2.5 million and a staff of 18 FTE and 23 PTE. The collection of approximately 1,125,000 items includes WiFi hotspots and other technologies, laptop computers, and a Library of Things. In 2019, the library circulated nearly 133,000 items and welcomed nearly 34,550 attendees to 1,051 programs and events.

MAPLD communicates regularly to residents through the standard social media accounts, as well as via newsletters, a blog, and its YouTube channel.

The Director reports to and is advised by a Board of Trustees made up of seven publicly-elected members who serve staggered six-year terms.

MAPLD is a member of SWAN Library Services, a collaboration of 100 Chicago area library organizations with total holdings exceeding 10 million items. The library is also a member of Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS), one of two multi-type regional library systems in Illinois. RAILS serves approximately 1,300 public, private, university, and school libraries throughout northern and west-central Illinois.

Photos courtesy of Matteson Area Public Library District