A HOLIDAY BOOK DRIVE going on now. Give the gift of literacy to the children of Mendota! Please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/books-for-mendota to make a donation or stop by the Library. 

History of the
Graves-Hume Public Library

Our History

Mendota was platted in 1853 by Timothy Blackstone and was incorporated as a village in 1855. In 1859, the State Legislature passed a special act incorporating the Town of Mendota. This act designed qualifications and duties of the board of trustees and other officers. In 1867, Mendota became a city. On April 27, 1870, a meeting was held at the office of Dr. T.F. Woodbridge, a dentist, to discuss organizing a library. Those attending were Mrs. Maria Simpson, Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Smith, Miss A.L. John, Miss Mary Crooker, William Edwards, E.A. Bowen, Joseph Hunter and Dr. J.A. Hoffman. On May 7th, they met again and the Mendota Library Association became a reality. In the early years, the donated books circulated among the members of the library. Anyone could become a member to the Library by giving $5. In spite of fundraising efforts for the library, there was little money available for additional volumes.

In the winter of 1873, Willard Graves presented the Town of Mendota with the proceeds of the sale of a farm amounting to $2,000 cash and a $700 interest-bearing mortgage. In addition, he deeded the house that would become the library building and the lot on which it stood, Lot 1 Block 62 of the original Town of Mendota. After other generous donations, the Library was put in order and formally opened September 8, 1874, with 1,700 new books on the shelves. Although Mr. And Mrs. Willard Graves had bestowed the building in which the library was located, the name was not changed at that time. It was still the Mendota Library and first to serve as librarian was Dr. J.D. Moody, a dentist.

In 1894, the Library Association and the City of Mendota adopted a resolution authorizing the City would take over the library to be known as Graves Public Library. February 2, 1895 the Graves Public Library was officially open for all of the public. It was announced that the library would be open every Tuesday and Saturday from 2 to 8 PM.

In 1903, it was decided to seek funding for a new library from Andrew Carnegie, who was known for his willingness to assist worthy causes. Carnegie, American iron and steel manufacturer and philanthropist, and had a fortune estimated at $400,000,000 amassed through industry, opportunity, Scotch thrift and rare powers of organization and management. A lifelong interest of Carnegie was the establishment of free public libraries to make available to everyone a means of self-education. He and the corporation spent more than $56 million to build 2,509 libraries.

Carnegie granted the City of Mendota $10,000 to build a new library. The formal opening of the new library was held February 3, 1905. Miss Sadie Wilcox assumed charge of the new library on September 1, 1916, at a salary of $40 per month.

The Library Board accepted the offer of Horace D. Hume in 1993 to build a new library on property given by the City of Mendota. The gift from Mr. Hume included estimated cost of $750,000 plus any additional costs incurred to fully complete the building, including shelving. In addition to the new building, Mr. Hume established a $10,000 Graves-Hume Library Trust Fund. Ground was broken Tuesday, June 22, 1993 for the 10,500 square foot building (current building). In December 1993, students from Lincoln and Holy Cross Grade School, Mendota and LaMoille High Schools, Boy Scouts, Friends of the Library members as well as members of various service clubs volunteered to carry boxes from the old library into the new building. The Graves-Hume Public Library opened for business January 10, 1994, and by January 14th there were 200 library card applications received. Graves-Hume Library is a fitting tribute to Hume’s son, James, prominent in the community, who at age 36, died unexpectedly. He had been associated in business with his father and held several patents in his own name. “My life is complete now that I have been able to do something for my son,” said Horace D. Hume just prior to the dedication of the Graves-Hume Library.

(Taken from ‘The Library 1870-1995 Mendota, Illinois.’ Assembled by: Kathy Berggren, Geraldine Haag, Jessica Nashold and Jean Swanson. Published by Mendota Museum & Historical Society, Inc.)

Board of Trustees


The Library is governed by an elected, seven-member Board of Trustees, which is responsible for the Library's finances, for the formulation of its policies and appoints the Library Director. Trustees serve six-year terms. The Library Board meets regularly once a month, except December.

Current Board of Trustees:

Name TitleTerm of Office End Date
Richard WhitePresidentApril 2019
Virjean HaywoodVice PresidentApril 2019
Mark ElstonTreasurerApril 2021
Kim AbelSecretaryApril 2019
Martha SchmittTrusteeApril 2019
Adriana CalamacoTrusteeApril 2019
Lucy SchmidtTrusteeApril 2019

Meetings of the Board of Trustees:

  • August 8, 2018
  • September 12, 2018
  • October 10, 2018
  • November 14, 2018
  • December No Meeting
  • January 9, 2019
  • February 13, 2019
  • March 13, 2019
  • April 10, 2019
  • May 8, 2019
  • June 12, 2019

All meetings are held at 7:00 p.m. at the Graves-Hume Public Library.

Library Board Agendas & Minutes