Established in 1881 by city ordinance, the Aurora Public Library was located in the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Hall at 23 East Downer Place until 1904, when it moved to a building at 1 E. Benton St. using a $50,000 grant from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. In 1969 the library underwent a major renovation and two three-story wings and a modern façade were added on, expanding the building to 44,000 square feet. With an eye to the future the library purchased the former Beacon-News property at 101 S. River St. in early 2010, and opened a new, state-of-the-art main library June 2015. The main library, the Richard and Gina Santori Public library is a state-of-the-art center for technology, information, literacy, creativity, and community. Its 3 floors make up a media lab, Makerspace, history and genealogy room, Early Literacy Center, computer lab, and conference rooms.
In a 1953 experiment, a Bookmobile was leased from the Illinois State Library to extend services to Aurora’s schoolchildren. Pleased with the results, the library purchased that Bookmobile and has employed one ever since. The current Bookmobile has served the community since 2003.
In the 1990s two branch libraries were added. The Eola Road Branch on the city’s east side opened in 1993 and was expanded in 2003 to meet heavy customer demand. The West Branch, on the campus of Washington Middle School, opened in 1998.