The Rockford Public Library (RPL) has five branches. They are the Montague Branch Library, the Rockton Centre Branch Library, the East Branch Library, the Rock River Branch Library, and the Lewis Lemon Branch Library.
The Montague Branch Library, located at 1238 South Winnebago Street, at the intersection with Montague Street, is the oldest of the RPL’s branches. It opened on May 24, 1923.
Architect Chester E. Wolfley designed this two-story brick building Spanish Renaissance-style. The first story and chimney is of brown brick, while the second story is of yellow brick. There are large arched windows that reach up to the second floor with brown brick ornamental trim around the arches. The red tile roof above is visually striking over the yellow second floor.
Today, the Montague Branch Library is a 10,000-square-foot facility. Built for about $25,000, originally it was a 5,000-square-foot facility with a circulating capacity of 12,000 books.
In April of 2001, the Montague Branch Library temporarily closed. It underwent an extensive expansion and renovation project. It doubled in size with the addition of the Constance V. Lane Community Room, a new wireless computer area, and a children’s space with storytelling area. Many of the branch’s original oak bookcases were restored, as was the fireplace.
The Branch Manager is Scharnae Walker. The Montague Branch Library is the RPL’s only library branch to be in a purpose-built library building. In addition to its regular English-language collections, the Montague Branch has Spanish-language book and periodical collections, a reflection of the neighborhood’s ethnic composition.
The Montague Branch Library is open from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Fridays. It closed Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays. The phone number there is (815) 965-7606.
The Rockton Centre Branch Library is located at 2112 North Rockton Avenue. It is a storefront library that serves the northwest part of town. There has been a branch in or near the Rockton Avenue Shopping Centre since April of 1961. In 1975, it moved from a storefront in the mall to a larger facility behind it.
In 2000, the branch moved from behind the mall to a storefront in the mall. Due to an increase in visibility, there was an increase in visitor patronage.
Dunarene Hopson is the Branch Manager. This topics and formats of this branch’s collections are appropriate for Rockford’s elder residents. For instance, this branch has a substantial collection of large-print books. Free Internet and word-processing services are also available.
The Rockton Centre Branch Library is open from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Fridays. It is closed on weekends. The phone number there is (815) 965-7606.
The East Branch Library is another storefront library branch. It is located at 6685 East State Street in the former Barnes & Noble space. This is the RPL’s newest branch. The RPL states the new East Branch features “a 65-seat meeting room, free Wi-Fi, quiet study rooms, special areas for children, young adults and adults, and an expanded collection of books and media.”
Sue Stevens is the Branch Manager. The East Branch Library is open from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays. The phone number there is (815) 965-7606.
The Rock River Branch Library is located at 3128 11th Street. This is the second iteration of this branch. June of 2001 marked the 30th anniversary of the branch library, so next month will mark its 40th anniversary. From 1971 to 1998, the branch was located in the strip mall across the parking lot from its present location.
The branch moved to the present location in 1998. In terms of square footage, this is the RPL’s second-largest branch. Rock River Branch Library specializes in materials for job searches and career development. It also provides programs for adults and story times for children. Free Internet and word processing services are also available.
The Branch Manager is Ellen Olson. Rock River Branch Library is open from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Fridays. It is closed Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays. The phone number there is (815) 965-7606.
The Lewis Lemon Branch Library was indirectly named in honor of one of Rockford’s co-founders. It is located at 1988 Jefferson Streetinside the Lewis Lemon Global Academy.
The Lewis Lemon Branch Library opened in 1994. This branch is both one of the newest and one of the smallest of the RPL’s branches.
This library depends on its telecommunications linkage to the Main Library and programming support from the Lewis Lemon Global Studies Academy. According to the RPL, the Lewis Lemon Branch Library “serves a community that has no easy access to other public library facilities. The branch is a collaborative partnership with Rockford Public Schools, Rockford Park District, and the YMCA.”
The RPL also states the Lewis Lemon Branch Library’s “collection features current and topical material in a variety of formats with a special focus on African-Americans. Programming is done in collaboration with other school-based organizations and other Rockford Public Library facilities. Free Internet and word processing services are also available at this branch library.”
Scharnae Walker is the Branch Manager of this branch library, too. The Lewis Lemon Branch Library is open from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. It is closed on weekends. The phone number there is (815) 965-7606.