Waverly Public Library

Celebrating 100 years!

Administrative Librarian:

          Julie R. Samaras
Assistant Librarian:

          Kathy Pereira

Services Provided

  • Handicapped Parking on North side of Library (2 spaces)
  • Electronic door openers (both exterior and interior doors)
  • Riding lift with access to all three levels (accomodates wheelchairs)
  • Computers for Patron use
  • Internet Access for the Public
  • Microfiche reader
  • Photocopying & Faxing available for small fee
  • Interlibrary loan
  • Information & Reference Service
  • Public Meeting Space
  • Story Hours, Summer Reading Program, & other programs for children & families
  • List of current popular books and Large Print titles circulated via Meals-on-Wheels and Senior Center
  • Delivery of books & other Materials to Homebound Patrons
  • Assistance in enrolling in the Federal Talking Book Program

Library Hours:
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

1 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

9 a.m. to 12 p.m.








Materials Provided

  • Juvenile & Adult Books--Fiction and Non-Fiction

  • Large Print Books

  • Audio Books

  • Encyclopedias & other Reference Materials

  • Magazines (over 30)

  • Newspapers (Jacksonville Journal Courier & Waverly Journal)

  • Waverly Journal dating back to 1964

  • Genealogical Resources

  • Income Tax Forms (State and Federal)

History of the Waverly Public Library



The Waverly Gazette of February 24, 1870, contained a suggestion from the editor, Mr. Abbott, concerning a Reading Room and Circulating Library where everyone would be welcome, and expressed the hope something would be done in the near future to correct this oversight.

Mr. C.J. Salter suggested the following plan: "Select a large room in a central location, furnish seats, stands for papers, and cases for books; form yourselves into an association taking the caption to this article, Reading Room and Circulating Library, for a title. Let everyone be a member and entitled to vote by paying five dollars and an annual tax of one dollar and fifty cents for a share, transferrable if he or she wishes to leave the place. Every shareholder entitled to the privilege of reading the papers and books, and taking to his or her home one volume book every week. The room to be opened every day except Sunday, from nine to eleven a.m. and from two to five p.m. A committee of five to select the books and papers and no book or paper admitted without th approval of the majority of the committee."

The suggestion of Mr. Salter must have met with the general approval , and an effort made to establish a public reading room. Reference material is scarce concerning the struggle of the community to make the library a success between the years of 1870 and 1880.

The original Public Library in Waverly was established in December, 1880. It was know as the Waverly Association. This was not tax supported, but was financed by donations, entertainments, fees for readers' cards and Kings' Daughters. The first record of circulation of books was January 15, 1881.

For many years, the books were housed in different buildings ans loaned from there. They were finally moved to the Congregational Church parlors were they remained until they were turned over to the Waverly Public Library on April 10, 1913. There were 480 volumes of in good condition at that time. From 1908 to 1913 they were not circulated.

In 1911, a movement was started by Miss Estelle Harris for the establishment of a Carnegie Public Library. After discussing the matter with a number of friends and citizens, who were interested in any project that would be an educational advantage to our city , Miss Harris arranged for a representative from the State Library Association to come to Waverly and explain the procedure for securing funds for a building for a Carnegie Library. The representative stated that Mr. Carnegie would donate the $4500 for the building (provided the City Council would vote to raise at least 10% of that amount each year thereafter for its support). Petitions were circulated and signed by a sufficient number of citizens and were presented to the City Council, who voted favorably.

At first it was thought the building could be located in the city park. Upon investigation the board found it could not, owing to the wording of the deed. A number of different sites were considered, but the board finally decided on the present location, which was purchased in April, 1912, with funds received from donations.

On April 8, 1912, the Library Board gave a contract to Thomas Rodgers for the erection of the building for the sum of $4500. At the April city election in 1912, there were two aldermen elected who were opposed to the library . The City Council subsequently refused to levy the $450.00 tax to support it. The Library Board authorized the proceedings, to force the City Council to levy the library tax. The firm of Dirby, Wilson, & Baldwin were secured. The case was decided in favor of the library , the City Council finding the could not refuse to levy the tax after having accepted the $4500.00 for the building. Since that time there has been no question as to the levying of the tax for its upkeep.

The building was completed April 14, 1913, and the final payment made to Mr. Rodgers on the date. According to the Waverly Journal of July 4, 1913, the formal opening of the building was held from 2:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, 1913. The building was prettily decorated with plants and pictures, and presented a pleasing and inviting appearance.

Rev. P.H. Aldrich, pastor of the Baptist Church, became the first librarian, and held that position until August 1, 1914. For a few weeks Miss Goldia Cline supplied as librarian while her sister, Miss Myra Cline, attended summer school for librarians at the University of Illinois. Late in the summer of that year Miss Myra Cline became librarian, holding that position until her marriage to Rev. W.T. Mathis on February 30, 1918. Miss Goldia Cline then became librarian. She had served as assistant for her sister during the time she was librarian.

Outside of Jacksonville, ours is the only other city in Morgan County which has a public library. It is not strange, however, that Waverly should be among the leaders in the county and state in this respect. Having received its name form Sir Walter Scott's Waverley Novels, and founded by a people who were inclined toward literary pursuits, it was a natural consequence that a library should be among its early institutions.

The story hour was initiated in June, 1964, by the Junior Department of the Waverly Woman's Club, assisted by the Child Welfare Department.

Miss Florence Wyle, of Toronto, Canada, a former Waverly resident gave a beautiful art collection to the library.

In 1962, the board approved needed repairs and added improvements to the building, by laying a new floor covering; Installing a new gas furnace; new fluorescent lighting; and completed the modernization effort with air conditioning, making the library a comfortable place winter or summer to enjoy reading.

In 1966, a new roof was put on. July 1, 1967, the librarian, Miss Goldia Cline, retired after fifty-three years of devoted service to the library and community.

On August 1, 1964, Mrs. Melvin Deatherage (Ermadean) had been appointed assistant librarian, and at the retirement of Miss Cline became Librarian. Mrs. Deatherage retired August 1, 1982, and Kay Miner became Librarian.

Several years ago, it became apparent that lack of space for materials and programs was a critical problem. A gift form Wemple State Bank proved to be the spark necessary to begin a new wing. This was completed and an open house was held August 24, 1980.

The new addition to the front of the Library was started the last week in April, 1980. It doubled the space in the Library. Two rest rooms and a new reading room on ground level were added. The basement was converted into a children's library. (Edward L. Kirk & Associates were the architects and Gail Wright the contractor.

In August of 1993 Kay Miner retired and Julie Samaras became Librarian. 

This information was made available by Julie Samaras at the Waverly Public Library, located at 291 North Pearl Street in Waverly, Illinois 62692.

© City of Waverly 2018