|Opened to the public on September
19, 1888, the library was a gift to the city by William Reddick.
Born in County Down, Ireland, October 31, 1812, Reddick came,
a penniless Irish immigrant, to the United States in 1816,
finally to settle in the Ottawa area in 1835. As time passed,
he found himself beckoned by politics and he eventually became
quite prominent, representing LaSalle County in the state
senate from 1847-51 and again in 1870-73.
1860, he built one of the most substantial and original
Italianate residences to be found in the state. Upon his
death in 1885, it was learned that his life-long commitment
to free public education-aimed at assisting young people
who, like himself, might otherwise be deprived of a full
education-had reached its zenith in his last bequest. He
willed his fine residence to the City of Ottawa, together
with a substantial endowment, for use as a public library
and reading room "…to be known and called by
the name of Reddick's Library."
In essence, although a great many changes
were occasioned by the years, the library continued to offer
it services from the mansion until 1975 when, through a
combination of endowment and revenue sharing funds, a new
facility was built to accommodate the library's growing
collections and readership.
The new library opened on February 17,
1975. In addition to books, the library also has material
available for use in a large variety of formats and, in
keeping with the ever-changing needs of the community; an
ever-growing array of non-traditional services is offered.
With the ongoing support of the public it serves, it would
seem that William Reddick's wish to have a library that
shall "…ever be open to the public" has
indeed found expression.