JCPL Library History
Rensselaer's Carnegie Center, home to the Prairie Arts Council and the Jasper Foundation, was built in 1904, but it was not the first library in the county. Learn more about the history of your local library.
New: Check out our new Library Timeline!
In 1855 two libraries existed in Rensselaer, a Township Library and the Mechanics and Laboring Men’s Library. Later these two merged into one library. The early library was housed in various rooms of the courthouse until 1904 when a Carnegie grant was obtained for construction of a library building.
That building served as the headquarters of the library system from 1905 until 1992 when the present 17,000 square foot building was constructed. The Rensselaer Library houses the offices of the library administrators and the processing center for all three libraries. It also serves as the host site for the library’s Library.Solution (TLC) automated circulation and online catalog system which links all JCPL libraries and makes the materials in any one library accessible to patrons at all three libraries.
The Wheatfield Library opened on January 15, 1973, in a one-room schoolhouse. In 1986, a 6,200 square foot library was built on that site. In 2005, having outgrown the 1986 building, we moved into a 14,900 square foot building. This library brings quality library service to residents of northeast Jasper County.
The DeMotte Library was started in the early 1960’s by the Business and Professional Women’s Club. It had a series of homes culminating in the purchase of a former Catholic Church in 1978. In 1992, the original 4,800 square foot building was expanded into a 17,300 square foot full-service facility serving the needs of northwest Jasper County residents.
Facts About the Jasper County Public Library
Indiana public libraries are funded primarily by county property taxes. Other income is derived from the state, county adjusted gross income tax, bank tax, fines, fees, and copy machine receipts. The Jasper County Public Library serves approximately 31,525 people living in the county (excluding Carpenter Township). According to state law, the library is governed by an appointed, unpaid seven member board of local citizens.
Our libraries at DeMotte and Rensselaer, built in 1992, each have approximately 17,000 square feet. Our Wheatfield Library, opened in 2005, has 14,900 square feet.