The Joliet Public Library had its beginnings in 1876 with 750 volumes in its collection. Donations came from the Historical Society of Will County and the Joliet Literary and Musical Society. The collection contained a careful selection of the best of the literature then available in English. It included 76 volumes of history, 115 fiction titles, 96 volumes of biography, and a representation of the arts, classics, sciences, and religion.
Today, the main body of the collection -- which includes over 300,000 books and 400 magazine subscriptions -- is housed in the historical 1903 Daniel H. Burnham-designed building in the heart of Joliet City Center. In the past, this building not only provided Library facilities for the City, but also, from time-to-time, housed the City's Municipal Offices, the Joliet School Board, and the Prairie Area Library System (formerly Heritage Trail). In 1991, architects skillfully blended old with new to add on a 49,000 square-foot addition that more than doubled the size of the Library that now takes up half a city block. [SOURCE]