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Cartwright, Carol Lohry; Shaffer, Scott; Waller, Randal / City on the Rock River : chapters in Janesville's history

8. Education,   pp. 147-164

Page 161

special tours for students. The library established branch libraries in the public schools in 1918.
These special services, as well as in-service training for school personnel, are still maintained
today. (Pierce 1984:55-60)
Around 1900, the city of Janesville received a $30,000 Carnegie grant for a new library building.
The city purchased a lot near Janesville's downtown and agreed to allocate city funds to
maintain the building and its services. F. S. Eldred donated an additional $10,000 for a
children's room. The new library at 64 S. Main St. opened in June 1903. The building was not
only a center for books and reading, but also a community center. The library promoted its own
educational and cultural activities, and club meetings and other public activities were also
held there. In 1932, an auditorium was added to the building to better accommodate those
programs. (Pierce 1984:70-92)
Janesville Carnegie Library (1903), 64 S. Main Street. Photograph ca. 1910.
By the early 1960s, the City of Janesville began to debate whether to construct a new library or
put a major addition onto the old building. The library had become, during its almost 60 years
of existence, intensely overcrowded, and changes in the way libraries provided services to the
public necessitated an updated facility. Those in favor of a new library prevailed, and a new
library facility at 316 S. Main St. opened in 1968. (Pierce 1984:166-168)
The new library building was, no doubt, expected to serve the public for decades to come. But
Janesville's ever-increasing population combined with an explosion of new information
technology and new demands on what the library should provide, resulted in the need for
significant improvements less than 30 years later. A multi-year expansion and remodeling
project was completed in 1996. The enlarged and improved facility was renamed the Hedberg
Public Library, in honor of the donor who contributed a large part of the renovation's cost.
There are two historic resources related to the development of the public library in Janesville.
The Carle Block, listed on the National Register in 1990 as a contributing resource in the West
Milwaukee Street Historic District, is significant as the earliest location of the public library
in Janesville. The newly renovated Hedberg Public Library at 316 S. Main St. is too modem to
be significant at this time. The most significant historic resource related to the development of

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