The Lisle Free Library was initially founded as the Union Library in 1814 and consisted of a simple wooden traveling bookcase that circulated through local family living rooms. Local residents could pay an annual subscription for the right to borrow books from the collection.
In 1922, Herbert H. Franklin (a Lisle native made rich and famous by inventing the air-cooled automobile engine) decided to build a permanent home for the library’s collection in honor of his recently deceased father, Charles Risden Franklin. In 1924, the current building now housing the Lisle Free Library was opened to the public as part of an endowment from the Franklin Foundation. Naturally this generous gift to the people of Lisle was made with the condition that free access be given to the library’s entire collection.
Later in the 1970’s, Tressa Corcoran (then the Town Historian and Library board member) graciously decided to design and personally finance the construction of an additional room to be built onto the back of the building. This addition greatly expanded the Library’s square footage, available shelving, and space to host community programs.
Today the Library maintains its strong tradition of providing the best services possible to people of Lisle and the surrounding communities.