In the mid 1950s, citizens of Wood Dale and its neighbor, Bensenville, expressed interest in establishing a community public library. Shortly thereafter, each village decided to set up its own library rather than continuing with a joint one, and the Wood Dale Library opened in a local schoolroom in 1958.

Community growth prompted the need for even more changes. In 1960, the library opened in its own standalone building. Two years later, citizens voted in favor of a referendum establishing a library district with boundaries matching those of School District #7. Population growth in the district continued; in 1978, a bond referendum to support the construction of a new building passed. That building, currently still in use as the Wood Dale Public Library, opened in 1981.

Despite the pandemic-induced isolation in the spring of 2020, there was good news from the Wood Dale Public Library District (WDPLD). In May of that year, groundbreaking began on a renovation project that would repair and update infrastructure at the existing facility while also constructing an airy and spacious 6,000 square foot addition at the back of the building. This project, finished in fall of 2021, transformed the library by increasing its space to 26,118 square feet and greatly improving its flexibility to offer programs and other services. Even the outdoor space was enhanced, enabling the library to offer amenities like Story Walks and Nature Walks and other programming options. In addition to the main building, an offsite admin center accounts for another 2,418 square feet of space.

The library serves a diverse population of 12,866 residents with an operating budget of approximately $3 million. District boundaries include most of the City of Wood Dale and a small portion of the Village of Bensenville. Several individuals on the staff of 12 FT and 9 PT people are bilingual and able to help users who speak Spanish or Polish.

In FY2021, despite limitations caused by the pandemic and some reduced hours/closures due to the library's renovation project, WDPLD still offered more than 600 in-person and/or virtual programs or presentations that were attended or viewed by more than 9,100 people. The library's YouTube channel, launched in spring of 2020, contains numerous videos featuring craft projects, baking tips, story times, book discussions, and updates about the renovation project. A bimonthly newsletter, available both online and as part of the city's printed newsletter, also provides plenty of information on all the library has to offer.

Circulation in FY2021 totaled 58,401 physical items and 13,276 electronic items, statistics that were impacted by pandemic and renovation closures. With new spaces and lessening restrictions, usage numbers are sure to rebound in coming years.

The library's physical collection includes approximately 55,000 print materials, 1,200 audio items, 7,300 DVDs/videos, 1,446 serial subscriptions, and 417 other items, including some very fun items from the "Library of Things." WDPLD's electronic collection is made up of about 101,000 e-books, 45,500 downloadable audio items, and 1,300 downloadable DVDs/videos. Additional materials are available thanks to the library's membership in SWAN Library Services, a consortium of 100 Chicago area libraries with holdings exceeding 10 million items.

Wood Dale Public Library is a member of Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS), one of two multi-type regional library systems in the state. RAILS serves approximately 1,300 public, academic, school, and special libraries throughout northern and west-central Illinois.

The library is governed by a seven-member elected Board of Trustees. Financial reports and board documents are posted on the library's website.

Photos courtesy of Wood Dale Public Library District