In the late 1800's two small privately owned
lending libraries existed in Galva, Illinois. It was not until 1907 that the
Tuesday Club, the forerunner of the Woman's Club of Galva, launched a
movement to establish a public library. A gift of $8,000 was secured from
Andrew Carnegie, and in August 1909, the contract for a tax supported
library was awarded. The cornerstone was laid two months later and the city
library, which is located at 120 N.W. Third Avenue, Galva, Illinois was
dedicated in July 1910.
F.U. White, long standing superintendent of Galva Schools, was the first President of the Library Board, serving until his death in 1934.In 1912, by consent of the City Council, the library became a Township institution with a tax levied annually for it's support. The library board elected at that time consisted of F.U. White, J.W. Morgan, E.L. Yocum, Jonas Lindquist, Olivia Peterson, and Mrs. J.H. Boyd.
In October 1929, twenty years after the cornerstone of the original building was laid, an addition, which doubled the original size, was dedicated. This was the gift of Mrs. Ada Smalley in memory of her daughter, Jessie, who had served as children's librarian.
When the library opened in 1910, there were approximately 1,200 volumes, but the 1999 annual report of the library listed 20,343 volumes and total number of borrowers as 1,891, with an annual circulation of 35,604 items.
In 1966, by a vote of the library board, the Galva Township Public Library joined the Illinois Valley Library System, whose headquarters were in Peoria. By joining the library system, the Galva Library was able to offer expanded access to library materials, as well as other cooperative ventures. In 1994, the Illinois Valley Library System merged with three other systems to form the Alliance Library System with service centers in East Peoria, Quincy, and Galesburg. The Alliance Library System closed the Bloomington and Pekin Offices in 2004 and merged them into their new facility in East Peoria, Illinois.
Over a period of years the Galva Library has been served by eleven librarians. Miss Blanche J. Morgan, Miss Olivia Peterson, Mrs. Amy Wiley Houghton, Mrs. Eva Goodale, Mrs. Amy Seeley Nelson, Mrs. Imogene Farquer, Mrs. Anna Laura Powers, Mrs. Faith Burdick, Mrs. Ann Larson, Mrs. Constance Ericson, and current Library Director, Mrs. Melody Heck.
In the mid 1980s, the Galva Public Library achieved District library status by annexing portions of Lynn, Weller, and Burns Townships to the Library's service area. The Galva Public Library District boundaries now nearly match the boundaries of the Galva School District.