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METROPOLIS Public Library

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About Our Library

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Library Books

Who We Are: 

The Metropolis Public Library provides free services to all residents living within the Metropolis city boundaries with services available to all others for a fee. 

The Metropolis Public Library is part of the Shawnee Library System. The library system has over 425,615 materials including over 394,000 books, 28,000 DVDs and compact discs.

Opening Times: 

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday: 10:00am-5:00pm

Thursday: 12:00-7:00pm

Closed on Saturday and Sunday


The Metropolis Public Library's roots run to 19th century. The Metropolis Public Library serves as an institution where people young and old can gather information and broaden their minds. It also serves as a landmark in the City of Metropolis, a landmark filled with a rich past. 

The beginning of the library dates back to 1839 when William McBane, founder of the City of Metropolis, donated land to the city. The forerunners of the library were the Women's Literary Club of Metropolis, better known today as the Metropolis Women's Club. They were the catalysts in arousing interest and beginning plans for a city library.


In 1892, plans were presented to Judge R.W. McCartney, who is credited with the library's founding. McCartney told the Women's Club that if the ladies got the books, he would provide a suitable building for a public library.

In 1894, the Robert W. McCartney Music Hall at 116 E. Fourth St. was built and a portion of the building was set aside for a library. The people of the town responded when the library asked for materials. People brought books and small donations and soon the shelves were filled.

Many members of the Women's Literary Club took turns by the month acting as librarians. After Robert W. McCartney's death, the operation of the library was turned over to the city council, which named the library the R.W. McCartney Public Library. For 20 years, the Music Hall served as a city library with F.A. Trousdale serving as president of the library board. 

Librarian Leona Rew Kidd spearheaded the efforts to construct a new library building, along with M.N. McCartney, superintendent of schools and secretary of the Carnegie Library Building Committee. Letters were sent to the Carnegie Foundation regarding a library building for Metropolis. A letter from Andrew Carnegie stated that if the city would agree to maintain a free public library at a cost not less than $900 per year, Carnegie would be glad to give $9000 to erect a free public library for Metropolis, pending Carnegie's approval of the proposed plans. Carnegie, who lived from 1835 - 1919, was a Scottish-born industrialist and philanthropist who founded U.S. Steel and helped finance 2,800 libraries across the nation. 

The Metropolis Public Library was designed by architect Beverly King. The contract for construction of the library was awarded in August 1913. The cost of the project was $11,500, with the Carnegie Corp. donating $9,000 of the cost of the building. The architect's commission and charge for extra site plans were a total of $316.50. The official dedication was held on Nov. 27, 1915 and Mrs. Daisy Walsh was appointed librarian. Since that time the library has been open continuously except for a three week period during World War I, due to a coal shortage. 

In 1917 the library housed 1,292 books. In 1968 the library became a part of the Shawnee Library System and has access to most material in print. In 2001, a $1.3 million dollar expansion to the original Carnegie library building was completed more than doubling the size of the library and adding a Genealogy Room, a separate Children's and Young Adult room, public computer workstations and other expanded facilities. 

In 2008, a computer lab/classroom was added with 12 computer workstations and a teacher's and presenter's computer workstation. Past librarians have included Daisy Walsh, Mary Metcalf, Carrola Ruggles, Ruth Middagh, Anne Henderson, Mary Hille, Betty Helton, Joanne Fort and JoAnn Downing. Rosemary Baxter is the current Library Director.


317 Metropolis Street
Metropolis, Illinois

Opening Hours

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday: 10:00am-5:00pm

Thursday: 12:00-7:00pm

Closed on Saturday and Sunday


Rosemary Baxter

Ph. 618-524-4312 ext. 5 

Volunteer Info

Contact the Director for Information:

Ph. 618-524-4312 ext. 5 

Location & Opening Hous

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Phone: 618-524-4312
Fax: 618-524-3675


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