History of the Library
“Tuesday afternoon June 13th, 1905 marks the opening of what has been very appropriately termed ‘A People’s University in Fairbury’ – The Dominy Memorial Library. This magnificent gift was given through the generosity of Mrs. L. B. Dominy. It was erected and presented to the City of Fairbury in memory of her husband, Lorenzo B. Dominy and their daughter, Hazel. The library is the property of the people of Fairbury and everyone is exhorted to feel as free to go to the library as if it was in his own house. The books, magazines or periodicals are at your disposal and as free as the air you breathe. People of Fairbury, the library is yours. Its treasures are yours. Let us all appreciate this gift – our library.” – Olive V. McKee, Sec.
As the town of Fairbury grew in the late 1880s, so did the demand for a public library. Following the death of daughter Hazel, Lorenzo Dominy (the first mayor of Fairbury and an involved citizen), decided to construct a library in her honor as well as to benefit the city. He died before plans for the building were completed, but his wife fulfilled his wishes by submitting an offer to the Fairbury City Council in 1904 to construct a library that would then be donated to the City of Fairbury or to a Board of Trustees for a free public library. In her offer, Mrs. Dominy requested the right to name the building and that the name never be changed, and she also listed the rules by which the library would operate. Additionally, she requested that she be allowed to choose the Board of Trustees and that the City of Fairbury would forever maintain and cover the costs of running the building.
Construction on the new library at the corner of Third & Elm streets, a site selected by Mr. Dominy, began in 1904 and was completed by the spring of 1905 at a cost of $12,000. Following the construction, the new Board of Trustees established the bylaws and policies of the new library. In January of 1907, Mrs. Dominy and her daughters completed the library by adding meeting space in the basement. In 2012, the library completed an extensive expansion, doubling the amount of space and making the library accessible, complete with an elevator. The addition also included a community room and other updates to keep the library current.
Today Dominy Memorial Library continues to provide materials and services for the recreational, social, informational, and educational needs of our Fairbury area community. It is home to a collection of over 21,000 physical materials and has access to almost 58,000 downloadable materials with a combined circulation rate of approximately 30,000 items each year. Through the decades, charitable contributions have allowed the library to well serve the Fairbury area, and the library relies upon the generosity of its patrons to remain a viable place for our community. To learn more about what our library has to offer, visit our services page, and we always welcome a tax-exempt, charitible donation to go towards library improvements.