The Messenger Public Library was founded in 1937. It is located on Oak Street in North Aurora.
The library was named after Emeline Messenger, a dedicated employee of the library for nearly fifty years.
Mrs. Messenger was born in 1902 in Aurora, Illinois to George and Grace Schneider.
Her great-grandfather, John Peter Schneider, founded Schneider’s Mill in 1834. Schneider’s Mill later became North Aurora.
Mrs. Messenger attended Aurora West High School in Aurora, Illinois. She was a graduate of Rockford College in Rockford, Illinois, where she majored in French and Music.
She served as a substitute at the North Aurora School and was a member of the Charter Club of Rockford College, Hawthorn Club, Aurora Historical Society, League of Women Voters and the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Although a member of New England Congregational Church, Mrs. Messenger served as the organist and choir director at Union Congregational Church in North Aurora.
She was married to Howard Messenger who passed away in 1975. They had two children, Barbara and Deborah.
Mrs. Messenger became involved with the North Aurora Public Library in 1937, which was one of the projects of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). At that time, all of the staff were volunteers.
The library opened with 1,000 books, donated by the Aurora Public Library, Aurora College, the Extension Division of the Illinois State Library and private collections.
According to Schneider’s Mill, a book on the history of North Aurora from 1834-1984, local volunteers worked to turn the front portion of the old post office into a 15x15 foot library.
The other half of the building served as a village meeting and polling place.
The new library room had shelves, two used tables, two used chairs and a small secondhand gas heater. The entire expenditure to open the library was $23.11.
When the WPA withdrew its support of the library in the early 1940s, Mrs. Messenger led the dedicated volunteers to keep the library running.
Although she did not have formal library training, Mrs. Messenger consulted regularly with librarians at neighboring libraries.
She once said, “Everything I know or have been able to learn, I have read in a book.”
Mrs. Messenger donated books from her personal collection to help build the library’s collection.
In 1952, a new building was built on the east side of the Fox River for use as a Village Hall and Fire Department. The library moved into the space also used as a meeting room for the Village Board.
In 1962, a referendum was passed to support the library through local tax dollars. Two years later, the Fire Department moved to a new location, and the library expanded to the space the Fire Department had previously occupied.
Mrs. Messenger continued to build the library and, in 1975, a separate room for the Youth Services Department was built.
Summer Reading Programs and story times took place regularly. Mrs. Messenger was often found in the Youth Services Department, waiting to greet the children as they came in for programs.
In recognition of nearly 50 years of service to the library, the board of trustees voted to re-name the library the “Messenger Public Library of North Aurora” in 1985. Mrs. Messenger retired the following year at age 84.
Mrs. Messenger passed away on April 7, 2000.
Messenger Public Library of North Aurora Foundation Fund
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