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The History Of Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library

Plainfield’s first public library facility opened June 4, 1901, in rented rooms at 120 East Main Street in Plainfield. A group of private citizens, incorporated as the Plainfield Library Association, gathered 414 gift books for public use and started the Plainfield Public Library. Coal oil lamps lit the Reading Room at night.

By January 27, 1904, the book collection numbered 1,278 and the library reopened in a new frame building at 130 North Vine Street. The $1,500 structure was financed by personal subscriptions from Association members, gifts of local business people and the profits from minstrel shows.

Almost as soon as the Town of Plainfield was incorporated in the spring of 1905, the Library Association gave its new building, completely furnished, to the town. From May 8, 1905, it was known as the Plainfield Public Library, and it has been tax-supported and administered by a Library Board since.

The library requested and received a financial gift from Andrew Carnegie to build a new, larger library. On January 27, 1913 the library moved into the Carnegie building at 120 South Center Street. In June of 1916, Plainfield Public Library began the first bookmobile service in Indiana. This weekly service to rural homes and schools covered Guilford, Washington and Liberty townships until 1924.

After 55 years in the old Carnegie building, the library moved again, nearer the center of the 14,500 population it served. The building at the corner of Simmons Street and Stafford Road (1120 Stafford Road) opened on October 14, 1968.

In response to a steady growth of library services and in numbers of library users, ground was broken on April 13, 1986, for an addition to the 1968 building. The addition was occupied in October 1986 and renovation began on the existing 1968 building. The renovated portion was occupied in January 1987. Formal dedication for the complete project was September 20, 1987.

Library Renovations

First Renovation on Stafford Road: The ensuing years brought many changes in information technology and continued growth in materials inventory, borrowers and circulation. Internet service was added and proved to be immensely popular with the public, as well as aiding library staff in information retrieval.

By August 1998, the library housed 127,000 volumes and an average of 17,500 visits were made to the library each month. The previous year’s circulation had numbered 280,000 items, an increase of 42% during the previous decade. If Plainfield and Guilford Township residents had bought, rather than borrowed, the materials, they would have spent about $3.5 million dollars.

Second Renovation on Stafford Road: The Library Board voted to begin an expansion and renovation program. The 1968 building was razed, additions were made on the north and west side of the 1986 building, and a parking lot was added on the north side of the building. Once the additional space was built, the library operations moved in and the 1986 building was renovated. By late August 2000, all of the library’s collections had moved into their final locations. The new spaced included a second floor with meeting rooms, administrative offices and staff space. The final project was dedicated on September 30, 2000. The library was renamed Plainfield | Guilford Township Public Library to better reflect the area it has served for over a century.

In 2008, the library went through an interior space renovation, creating a more open main floor, adding a teen room, Indiana Room and quiet study area.

The library purchased Indiana’s first Book Bike in 2016. This pedal-powered bookmobile allowed for the library to be mobile and participate in community events, like the Farmer’s Market, school visits, trail rides, parades, festivals and Plainfield High School tailgating.

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