The Mattoon Public Library was formed by a group of interested citizens in 1893. Ten years later in 1903, the Library moved into its current location. Our 1903 room, which is available for rent, shows how the Library originally appeared.

The Library was built with funds from Andrew Carnegie and is one of the many Carnegie libraries in central Illinois. Andrew Carnegie believed that a person had to educate themselves, and libraries afforded anyone that opportunity. He also believed that people had to lift themselves up because no one was going to do it for them. The stairs leading up to the main entrances reflect this belief.

In 1995, an addition was built onto the main building. The people involved with the renovation wanted to keep the original feel of the building and, unlike many other Carnegie libraries, this addition closely matches the original. It is difficult to tell what parts of the Library is the old building and which are the new. This addition also helped make the building handicap accessible according to the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Researching genealogy or local history? The Library also houses Mattoon’s rare book and manuscript collections, some of which date back hundreds of years.