Gail Borden marking 150 years with birthday celebration March 19

Gail Borden Public Library invites the community to its 150th birthday celebration on Tuesday, March 19.

There will be cake, giveaways, performances by the Elgin Master Chorale and the Fox Valley Harmonizers Barbershop Quartet, along with several surprises to commemorate the day the library first opened its doors to the community on March 19, 1874.

It will be 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the main library lobby, 270 N. Grove Ave. in downtown Elgin.

This community holds the distinct honor of being the first in the state to establish a public library by vote on April 2, 1872, after the state of Illinois passed the “Free Library Act” in March 1872.

Much of the impetus for this act followed the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and the gift of books from England with bookplates that were inscribed with “Her Majesty the Queen Victoria.”

While this community was first to vote on establishing a public library in Illinois, the doors of the first library opened in 1874 on the third floor of the Home Bank block that once stood where the Tower Building now stands.

Kids, age 2 to 6 with an adult caregiver, can also join in the birthday celebration from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 26, at the main library. There will be stories, songs, crafts, and more. Registration is required.

In addition, the library is hosting “Libraries and Local Oaks — Inspiring and Enriching Our Lives” from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, April 20, at the main library. Gail Borden Library has been enriching lives for 150 years and local oak forests have done the same. Discover 15 ways that local libraries and oak forests are essential support and inspiration to the world around us. Registration is required.

Order a 150th anniversary T-shirt by Monday, March 4. The cost is $15. Once the T-shirts arrive, you will receive an email to pick up your shirt at the main library. Order via If you have any questions, email Anneliese at

Stop by the small memento store with coffee mugs, book bags, sports bottles and more near customer relations in the Main Library. Check back often, as merchandise will change throughout the year.

For information, visit

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