The first library in Marissa was started in 1891 by interested businessmen in Mitze’s Harness Shop. It was a subscription library consisting of 200-300 books. Members were entitled to free reading privileges while non-subscribers could take books on a rental basis. Later, the library was moved upstairs to the office of Mr. Millard McMurdo who served as librarian. Other interested men were A.J. Meek, Henry Mitze, Dan Zihlsdorf and W.M.K. Lyons.
After that closed, book clubs were formed by small groups of readers and the books were passed around among the members. At the close of this library, the books were combined with a large and well-selected group of books which were placed in the Academy Building in 1886.
The next phase of the library’s history came with the Works Progress Administration which started in 1938 and ended in 1942. Through the efforts of Theodore Charlwood, then principal of the Marissa Grade School, the library was housed in the school. Among the first librarians were Mrs. Bertram Jones and Mrs. Amanda Baird.
When the W.P.A. ended, the school took over the library and moved the books to an upstairs room adjoining the office where Mrs. Ann Watt served as secretary and librarian.
In June 1959, Mr. James Montedonico, Director of State Regional Libraries, met with a group of interested citizens to discuss forming a library in Marissa. Marissa would be part of the Kaskaskia Regional Library System, taking in both Old and New Marissa and surrounding areas. Books and a librarian would be furnished, and the project operated by the state for 18 months with no expense to citizens. Mrs. Helen Krebs and Tom Lee led the formation of the library and plans for its organization. The Marissa Messenger played a large role in the library program. A building was rented from C.E. Varns and volunteer workers built shelves and donated furniture with which to start the library.
On October 24, 1959, more than 3,000 books arrived at Marissa Library and Mrs. Marjorie Hemphill was selected as librarian. Donations and pledges from citizens took care of additional expenses.
In June 1960, Marissa and all voters in Kaskaskia Regional Library System went to polls to vote to retain the library and to levy a six-tenths of a mill tax to support it. Although it was carried on in both New and Old Marissa, it was heavily defeated in other areas so Kaskaskia Regional Library came to an end. An election was held by both villages and with help from Mayors Kratz (Old Town) and Gorman (New Town) and their Village Boards they again went to polls and voted in Marissa’s first Public Library. Mrs. Helen Krebs was acting president through these trying times.
In January 1962, Mayor Bollmeier and Village Board of New Marissa began making plans for Municipal Building which would house Library and Museum. While a new building was being constructed, library was moved upstairs over bank and continued functioning in close quarters until new building was completed.
On March 3, 1964, Marissa Library moved into its new quarters although not complete yet resumed business. On April 11-12 an Open House was held for Municipal Building.
The museum started by Mr. Thomas Keyworth was kept at Marissa Grade School until space was needed for classrooms. It was then stored away until Marissa Library came into being where it was reassembled, becoming a major part of the library. As more space was needed for library use last museum showcases were moved to Academy Building making space for addition of five public use computers. Additional bookcases were added as needed with Eldon Reuss, Don Lambert, Emmett Laumbattus making some of them.
In 1998 at spring election citizens voted for library to become district library increasing jurisdiction to take in all of Marissa School District #40. In 2000 library purchased adjacent building formally Erb’s Tom Boy beginning renovation. In early 2002 through help of library construction grant various memorials donations major renovations began. Addition now houses children’s section computer lab staff workstation two handicap restrooms, boardroom, and tutoring room. The original library now houses adult fiction, non-fiction, and two reading areas.
The librarians were Marjorie Hemphill, Trudy Pranulis and Billie Laumbattus. The present 2024 board members are Carol Mercer, President; Warren Trotter, Vice-President; Linda Lea, Treasurer; Mary McCrary, Secretary; Doug White, Trustee; Sue Derwort, Trustee; and Kathy Wright, Trustee.