|“Tuesday afternoon June 13th, 1905 marks the opening of what has been very appropriately termed ‘A People’s University in Fairbury’ – The Dominy Memorial Library. This magnificent gift was given through the generosity of Mrs. L. B. Dominy. It was erected and presented to the City of Fairbury in memory of her husband, Lorenzo B. Dominy and their daughter, Hazel. The library is the property of the people of Fairbury and everyone is exhorted to feel as free to go to the library as if it was in his own house. The books, magazines or periodicals are at your disposal and as free as the air you breathe. People of Fairbury, the library is yours. Its treasures are yours. Let us all appreciate this gift – our library.”|
– Olive V. McKee, Sec.
January 1, 1905 marked not only the start of a new year, but also the opening of Dominy Memorial Library. The initial plans for a library had actually begun shortly more than a decade before, when the Methodist Episcopal Sunday School, by sponsoring a book social that cleared $21, opened a Reading Room, open daily from 2 to 4 p.m.
|As the town grew, so did the demand for a public library. In 1901, Hazel Dominy, daughter of the Lorenzo B. Dominys, died after a short illness. Her father, wanting to both commemorate his daughter and benefit the city, decided to build a library. He died before plans for the building were completed, but his wife fulfilled his wishes, requesting the right to name the building and that the name never be changed.|
|She also listed the rules by which the library would be operated. Construction of Dominy Memorial Library, at the corner of Third and Elm, a site selected by Mr. Dominy, was begun in 1904. The architect was Paul Moratz, He was one of the architects involved in the rebuilding of downtown Bloomington after the fire of 1900. He designed many buildings in the Midwest, including other libraries. The library was completed at a cost of $12,000.|
|Through the decades, charitable contributions have allowed the library to well serve Fairbury area citizens. To meet the demands of an increasingly technological-and expensive-society, the library relies even more upon the generosity of its patrons to keep it a viable and growing institution.|