A Closer Look
Hedberg Public Library
155 Years of Wonderful Service!
Story by Teresa Nguyen
The Young Men's Association started our first library in 1865. By 1874, The Janesville Ladies Temperance Union organized a free library and reading room.
The history of our library goes back 155 years! That's a LOT of wonderful reading, education and service to our community! The following is a brief timeline of the history of the Hedberg Public Library
The Early Years
1865 - Janesville's first library began in a small space, started by the Young Men's Association. It was located in the Lapin Building near the Milwaukee St. bridge.
1874 - The Janesville Ladies Temperance Union organized a free library and reading room, which was moved to the Bennett Block on West Milwaukee Street.
1884 - The City of Janesville adopted the building as our official public library in 1884!
1902 - Our first permanent library was built with funding from the Andrew Carnegie foundation and the estate of F.S. Eldred of Janesville. This beautiful, grand structure at 64 S. Main is now the Senior Center.
1968 - A new library was built at its current location, just down the street at 316 South Main.
1993 - In 1993, a $3 million gift from Don and Gerry Hedberg helped kickstart new renovations. More donations came from Lab Safety Supply (Grainger) in Janesville, city taxpayers, the library's capital campaign, The Janesville Foundation and Friends of Janesville Public Library.
A temporary library was set up at the Job Center building on Center Avenue on Janesville’s south side.
In honor of Don and Gerry, the newly remodeled building on Main Street was renamed Hedberg Public Library. It is part of the Arrowhead Library System of public libraries in Rock County.
2016 – A team from the Leadership Development Academy decided to establish a bookmobile for their project.
The Janesville Fire Department ended up donating a decommissioned ambulance to the project. Our 12 elementary schools held book drives collecting over 1,000 books!
HPL also added some of their circulation into the bookmobile for checkout. The library’s bookmobile can be seen all over town, in neighborhoods and at community events, taking books to young readers of our community.
2019 – Through a few years of planning, together with the Transform Your Library fundraising campaign, HPL began much needed renovations toward a redesigned program room, an expanded teen area, four additional study rooms, additional seating, and a central desk with cross-trained staff.