Plans to establish a library were instigated in 1964 by the Chamber of Commerce and the Oak Forest Library Council (a newly formed group). A “Name the Library” contest was held; Richard Kreps, second grade student at Scarlet Oak, was the winner. He selected the name “Acorn Library” because it would start small and grow big.
A referendum to establish a library was approved on January 22, 1966. A total of 555 ballots were cast; 330 were affirmative votes.
In 1967 Mrs. Eliza Wyss became Oak Forest’s first librarian. The work-shop was at the Oak Forest Hospital, where donated books had been stored. The same year, three lots and a building that had been used as the El Morro sales and display office were purchased. The Acorn Library officially opened March 1, 1968.
The first Board of Trustees at the time of the Library’s grand opening included Faun Hill (President), Bruce Peterson (Treasurer), Dorothy Kalmanek (Secretary), Anthony Kweder, Patricia Matthews, and Elaine Miller.
Click here to view images of the Library’s past on our Flickr page.
Commemorative letter from George Saunders
George Saunders—alumnus of Oak Forest High School (1977)—is a short story writer and author of the novel Lincoln in the Bardo, for which he won the 2017 Man Booker Prize, an award given each year for the best original novel written in the English language and published in the UK. He is the second American to win the prestigious Man Booker Prize since its establishment in 1969. George Saunders wrote the following remembrance to commemorate the Acorn Public Library District’s 50th anniversary. Click here for access.