Arts & Culture / Mosaic / September 25, 2008

A look at the public library

A block away from the Knox College campus, on the corner of Broad and Simmons, sits a one-story building with a small parking lot in the back. This is the Galesburg Public Library. The library’s mission statement states that its goal is “To serve the community as a general center of information, and to provide opportunity and encouragement for people to use its services and materials to meet their educational, personal, professional, recreational and cultural needs.”

But can Knox College students, most of whom do not live in Galesburg, use the public library? The Library Director Pam Van Kirk, said, “We welcome college students.”

Any Knox student who brings in a student ID can register for a card and receive its full benefits. The only difference between a Knox student’s card and a resident’s card is that the student’s card is based around the school year, and expires in May. Once school resumes in September, however, college students may renew their registration and have a fully functional library card for the length of the school year.

Van Kirk went on to say that lots of Knox students come in, especially to shop at the impromptu used bookstore in the front of the library. The children’s and Young Adult collection is also popular with college students, particularly those in education courses. Some students use the library as a pass-through, since its several doors offer a short cut downtown.

Van Kirk also mentioned that students have been known to come in to the library on Flunk Day, to get work done away from the chaos of campus.

Last week on September 16, a retired Western Illinois University history professor gave a presentation called “The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the Manhunt for His Killer” at the library. Van Kirk stated that this is to be the first of many upcoming Lincoln-related events in the community, the college, and at the library. The library hosts many such community events, all of which are open to Knox College students. There is a brochure available in the library, though Van Kirk recommended the library’s website as an easy way for college students to keep track of library activities. She also said that exploring the website is the “easiest way to learn about upcoming programs and services.”

When asked if the library had any interesting history, Van Kirk laughed and said, “Abraham Lincoln slept here.”

She went on to explain that Lincoln stayed with a man named Henry Sanderson after his famous debate and that the Sanderson home was located on the very place that the public library now stands. There are pictures available on the website, as well as a digital image collection that is accessible online.

The Galesburg Public Library holds open its doors to the community of Galesburg and Knox College students alike. Its many and varied events are all posted on its website,, and it is open every day of the week.

Galesburg Library Hours

Monday – Thursday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Friday and Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Lauren Moody

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