Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian. This column originally appeared in the June 2009 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter. The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.
The early years for Hoffman Estates homeowners were filled with volunteer work at school, membership in the Women’s Club and work with the Hoffman Estates Homeowners Association.
A lot more happened on back yard patios than just having something cool to drink and watching the kids. On a summer afternoon in 1958 Jean Davenport and Edna Shore were sitting in Edna’s back yard when Jean suggested that Hoffman Estates needed a library. Since Edna was the Culture Chairman for the Lakeview P.T.A. Jean suggested that she could get things started.
The ladies talked with friends and neighbors and many agreed to help with establishing a Hoffinan Estates Library. Diane Woodhouse served as the first chairman of the library planning committee. Reverend Albert Harkins, Leonard Pecilunas, Bonnie Samuels and Bernice Suttle also served on that first committee.
The women began going door to door asking for book and monetary donations for the new library. They set a goal of $550 as the amount needed to start the new library.
Jean Davenport took over as committee chairman in January, 1959 and succeeded in raising $233 that month alone. The Hoffman Estates residents donated 4,000 books for the first library. There were many neighbors and friends who worked hard to raise the money and find a home for the new library. Jack Hoffman of F. & S, Construction offered the basement of the Hammerstein Farm Community Center for the library. The volunteer group named the library the Arthur Hammerstein Library of Hoffman Estates. The plan was to ask each family to pay $2 to use the library.
More space was needed for the library materials and Mary Zimmerman, principal of Hoffman School, offered an empty classroom space for the growing library, but it was only a temporary home as the school enrollment was growing as well. When space and time ran out, Jack Hoffman came to the rescue and offered the library the use of an empty house on Roselle and Schaumburg Rd.
It was obvious that a larger public library was needed. The Hoffman Estates committee and the library committee from Schaumburg felt that neither Hoffman Estates nor Schaumburg was large enough to support a public library. Together they decided that a township wide library would best serve the residents of the area.
On September 8,1962 Schaumburg Township residents approved the referendum for the new Schaumburg Township Library by a vote of 430 to 69.
That first volunteer committee was responsible for encouraging their neighbors and friends to support a library for Hoffrnan Estates families. Fifty years ago Jean, Edna and Hoffman Estates volunteers planted the seeds and they grew to become not only our library but a library for all the Schaumburg Township residents.
Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Village Historian