Our History

In 1894, the Galena Public Library and Reading Room was established by Benjamin Franklin Felt, a local merchant. It formally opened on January 3, 1895, occupying two rooms on the second floor of the U.S. Customs House and Post Office. The initial collection contained 1,319 volumes, mostly donated by the founder. 

 

In 1906, matching funds from the Carnegie Foundation and the Felt Estate were given for the construction of a new library on Bench Street. That same year, construction of the current building started, the cornerstone was laid on April 27, 1907 (U.S. Grant’s birthday) and the Library formally opened with a dedication on July 4, 1908. The Galena Public Library is a classic Greek style building made of Indiana limestone.

 

In 1988, the voters of East and West Galena Townships elected to create a district library, expanding the original boundaries of the library. Today, the Galena Public Library proudly serves over 4,600 individuals.