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History of Prairie Skies Library District



                                                   116 North Hardin, Ashland, IL.

                                                   John Cheetham Memorial Library



This was the first official community library in Ashland. English-born John Cheetham owned land and farmed near Ashland. He was fond of the written word and his estate designated funds for the library.  The building was a subtype of Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie Style.  Construction was completed by a crew from the WPA (Working Projects Administration) and the library was dedicated on April 14, 1938.  Books were donated by the Ashland Residents.

On September 1, the library joined the Great River Library System. April 14, 1988, the library celebrated it's 50th anniversary.


In 1988 a referendum was passed by the voters to become the Ashland Public Library District  that incorporated the school district area. The State Bank of Ashland donated the vacated bank building downtown at 125 W. Editor in October 1988. The trustees accepted it at their November Meeting.  With a grant from the Illinois State Library, construction began January, 1991 to make the building accessible for all. April 22, 1991 was opening day of the newly renovated library on Editor Street, in Ashland.

                                           Ashland Public Library District

                                                     125 W. Editor, Ashland, IL.




In 1990, the Pleasant Plains School District was approached to become part of the Ashland Library District. A referendum passed March, 1991 to incorporate them as part of the library district. The Women's Club offered their little volunteer library site in the Community Building for the Pleasant Plains Branch.

Pleasant Plains Branch

In 1994, the Illinois Valley, Corn Belt, Western Illinois and Great River Valley all merged to become the Alliance Library System, of which we are currently a member of. 

In 1999 with increasing patronage and more hours the branch soon outgrew its space.


With a sizable donation from a library patron and a matching grant from the Illinois State Library, a ground breaking was held.




                                Artist : Jaymie Rae Krone


The architectural design was in the more modern style of Frank Lloyd Wright. All of the artwork was done by local artists, including the stained glass over the entrance archway.  Moving day was the first of February 2002. Everyone pitched in and helped. We were officially open to the public on February 4th. The grand opening was held on Saturday, April 20, 2002.



                                            555 Buckeye Road, Pleasant Plains, IL.

                                            Pleasant Plains Branch




Prairie Skies Public Library District
The birth of Prairie Skies Public Library District, two locations one name.


Because the library district includes parts of four counties; Cass, Morgan, Menard and Sangamon, the trustees wanted a name that would encompass the entire district.In 2005, there was a contest for a new name. Hundreds responded, but it was finally whittled down to three. The voting began. People could vote online, in the library or mail their votes in. The winner was "Prairie Skies" which was submitted by the children in the 3rd grade  class of A-C Central Grade School. The name became official in September 2006.

John Cheetham Memorial Library building
Ashland library
Pleasant Plains branch
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