Evolution of Beloit library services

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BELOIT - The earliest library services were offered in volunteer fire departments beginning in the late 1850s. They were primarily for use by firefighters but were also available to the public for a fee.

By 1866 the Beloit Library Association was formed, leasing a room over S.J. Waterman's store. Annual membership was $2 for adults and $1 for youth. That early library contained 423 volumes and had a circulation of 3,018.

The library moved around from one site to another and then ceased services for a time. Readers then depended on their own library collections, the YMCA, Knights of Labor, churches and Beloit College for materials.

In 1895, the first free Beloit library building opened. In 1903, a new library building was constructed on West Grand Avenue and remained there until 1972 when more space was needed. A branch library also was made available in 1945 on Wisconsin Avenue.

In 1972, the library moved to the former post office building, on the corner of Pleasant Street and East Grand Avenue. In 2009, the new library opened on Eclipse Avenue due to the need for more space and updated services.

- Information gleaned from Beloit Historical Society

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