The Orland Park Public Library was formed in 1937 when the Orland Park Women’s Club decided to make the founding of a public library its major activity for the year. Partial funding was provided by a WPA library project through the Illinois State Library Extension board in Springfield. Mr. Roy Loebe donated the Purple Candle Building to use rent-free. Many other donors contributed to the fledging library.
In 1940 the population of Orland Park was 631. In 1941 the Village Board passed an ordinance establishing a free public library operated by volunteers and stocked by donations. In 1943 a referendum was passed allowing taxes to be levied for the operation of the library.
By 1960 the population had grown to 2,592 and the library began receiving a new state library service, a bookmobile. This service continued until 1967 when the library joined the Suburban Library System. The population in 1970 was 6,391 and the Purple Candle Building simply could not hold another thing — records were even stacked in a bathtub. Plans were made to move the library into a larger building.
Expansion came in the form of a gift. As the Orland Park Herald reported in January 1975, “In an unprecedented gesture of largesse Andrew Corporation gave a gift of a new Library Building to the community of Orland Park at the Village Board meeting on January 13.” The 7,000 square foot building, the Aileen S. Andrew Memorial, at 14760 Park Lane was dedicated on November 14, 1976.
The Village of Orland Park kept growing; the population for 1980 was 23,045. The Andrew Foundation once again donated the needed money, providing an addition to the library building, which increased its size to almost 18,500 square feet. Besides the addition completed in August 1983, the library began contracting for bookmobile service from the Frankfort Public Library during the summer.
The 1990 census reported 35,720 residents and the library was again in need of space. The Library Board purchased a bookmobile and an expansion of the building was approved. The second addition added the bookmobile garage, meeting room, boardroom, and Technical Services area. There was also a small remodeling project to add shelves for the public where the old Technical Services area had been. Financing, for the first time, was through a municipal bond issue.
In 2002, the Board of Trustees placed a referendum on the ballot to build a new facility to be located on 149th and Ravinia Avenue, replacing the current facility. The referendum passed with two-thirds of the votes in favor of the proposed building. Michael Barnes, an architect from Lohan Anderson, designed the 93,000 square foot building and W.E. O’Neil was chosen as the General Contractor. The new facility officially opened at 14921 Ravinia Avenue on September 12, 2004 and has won numerous awards for its building design.
In late 2019 through 2020, the library underwent a $3.4 million renovation and repurposing of areas. A glass wall was added to the front of the Computer Lab so patrons could see the technology the library has to offer. Lou Flavio, local businessman, and owner of Today’s Business Solutions, Inc. recently donated to the library’s capital campaign fund. The new Tech Center, located next to the Computer Lab, has been named after Flavio’s company. The teen area was enclosed and named the Teen Loft and offers a great space for teens, grades 6-12, to study, socialize and enjoy gaming and crafting. A tween area, called The In-Between, was created for children in grades 3-5, and new public service desks were added for each area. A nature center, called The Backyard, was added to the building with the help of a donation from the Aileen S. Andrew Foundation. Additionally, a Sensory Space was added with the help of a donation from Darvin Furniture & Mattress of Orland Park.