Elmwood Park Public Library: A Brief History

old cars
Looking north from 76th and Grand Avenues is the home of the first library, originally the Mills sales office used during the construction of Westwood. The cars parked in front were used to show prospective buyers around the area.

first library
The third location of the public library – a storefront opened in 1939 - was at 7705 Westwood Drive and would be its home for 36 years. In 1962 an addition was added and it was remodeled, but a need for even more space soon became apparent.

second library
A new library facility became a part of the development of the Circle, along with the Civic Center. The doors opened on the 14,700-square-foot public library at 4 Conti Parkway in October 1975. This building eventually became the Early Childhood Center after the current library was completed on the outside of the circle in 2002.

ground breaking
Groundbreaking for new location at 1 W. Conti Parkway.

current library building
Opened 2002 and still going strong!

2014 is the Village of Elmwood Park’s Centennial year, with the Library celebrating its 78th anniversary.

library staff library board of trustees

 

2016-2020

2020 Pandemic

 
 

 

Staff

The last year has brought many staff changes. In October of 2019, we lost our beloved Kim Viita, Head of Kids & Teens, to cancer. In January 2020, Mary Moss, Head of Circulation, retired after 29 years of service.  And in June 2020, Miss Irene from Kid & Teens, retired after 25 years of service.

They all were an integral part of the Library for so long, and we will miss them all.

Mary Moss     Photograph of Kim Viita     Photograph of Irene Ramirez

 

Building

In the spring of 2019, the Library completed its 2016-2019 Strategic Plan, and was pleased to have created new spaces, activities, collections, connections, and opportunities for the community.  Two of our biggest accomplishments were:

Remodel of the Imaginarium (formerly the Story Room), with new built-in puppet stage, carpeting, fresh paint, and a much more modern and kid-friendly atmosphere.

Photograph of the Imaginarium under construction     Photograph of the newly finished Imaginarium.

 

Remodel our main lobby to include a updated Circulation Desk, carpeting, paint, seating, and a brand new Snack Space with a vending machine.

Photograph of the remodeled lobby with art on the walls.      Photograph of the remodeled lobby with new Circulation desk.

Photograph of the remodeled lobby with new seating area.     Photograph of the new Snack Space in remodeled lobby.

 

Local History Room

The Library is very thankful that resident, former staff member and volunteer, Russ Parker, continues to manage our Local History Room and archive, which provides us with such rich history. We have yearbooks, photographs, articles, and other artifacts relating to Elmwood Park history. Access to the Local History Room is available to library patrons by appointment. Contact the Adult Services Department at 708.395.1217 to schedule a time.

You can also check out these online sources for historical photographs of Elmwood Park:

Book cover of "Images of America: Elmwood Park" by Ken KnackInterested in taking some history home with you?  You can check out these books. Click on the title to check availability or place a hold in the SWAN Online Catalog:

Peter N. Silvestri Cultural and Learning Center | Serving Elmwood Park Since 1936