Begin Here.

Mission and History

The Rock Island Public Library first opened to the public on November 25, 1872, in a rented location in downtown Rock Island. Because the pre-existing private library donated a location, books and the services of their director, Miss Ellen Gale, the Rock Island Library became the first public library to open for business after the passing of the 1872 Library Act in the State of Illinois. In 1903, the Downtown Library opened for business.

Since our first days, we've continued to evolve, serving the public with a collection of community centers, outreach efforts, and online opportunities. Our locations include the Rock Island Downtown Library at 401 19th Street and the Southwest Library at 9010 Ridgewood Road. We also offer a Mobile Library, "Library2Go," which begins a regular route schedule on January 6, 2020. For a list of holiday closings at our locations, please follow the link to our "How Do I? frequently asked questions page.


The Rock Island Public Library makes our community stronger by connecting people to resources, services, events, and each other.


The Rock Island Public Library is a bastion of democracy, where people of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures can engage in self-directed or group-learning activities that foster education, literacy, and community participation

As a library we're deeply committed to helping our community: 

  • Providing Equal Access to Resources
  • Facilitating Community Engagement Opportunities
  • Fostering Education and Lifelong Learning
  • Offering Vibrant Spaces Where All Are Welcome

To see a strategic plan with more details about our mission, download our plan handout
For more about our history, take a look at the following documents: 



401 19th Street, Rock Island
(309) 732-7323
Curbside Pick-up available
By appointment only

Return items via book drops
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9010 Ridgewood Road, Rock Island
(309) 732-7338
Curbside Pick-up available
By appointment only

Return items via book drops