A Timeline of Willard Library

August 27, 1989

Willard Library Director Don Baker left to head the Newburgh-Ohio Township public libraries in Warrick County.

November 4, 1989

Margaret Maier died. Known as "Miss Margaret" during her 50-year tenure as children's librarian, Maier was well-known for her annual Easter Egg Tree. She had helped several child patrons who later achieved national fame, including Bob Griese, Ron Glass, Tom Armstrong, and Andy Benes.

January 23, 1990

William Goodrich was named Director of Willard Library.


As the Library was inundated with old county records, interest grew in acquiring the Municipal Market building across First Avenue. However, the building was not acquired.

June 10, 1994

Library Director William Goodrich resigned to head a two-county library system in Virginia.

June 20, 1994

The Library received a grant from the Indiana Heritage Research Grant program to clean and store 10,000 glass-plate negatives from the Walden Photography Studio, which was in business from 1892 to 1941.

July 1, 1994

Adult Services Librarian Greg Hager was promoted to Director of Willard Library.

September 1, 1994

Installation of the Library's local area networked computer system was completed.

March 28, 1995

Television personality Willard Scott acknowledged Willard Library's one hundred-tenth anniversary on the NBC network's Today Show.

August 24, 1996

Electric chandeliers, replicas of the building's original gas chandeliers, were installed.

February 11, 1997

The Willard Library website was created.

April 14, 1998

The Library's interior was re-painted.

January 2, 1999

For the first time in its history, Willard Library began opening for business on Mondays, and was open 59.5 hours a week, year-round.

October 15, 1999

The world's first ghostcam was installed at Willard Library. In the first two weeks, more than two million visitors logged on to the Library's website to see what was in the camera's view.

July 10, 2002

With a $5,000 grant, the Library put online 10,000 biographical index cards from the Joan Marchand Collection.

February 9, 2003

Toyota Motor Corporation Indiana presented a $5,000 grant to Willard Library for digitizing and uploading 2,000 index cards of local company information, to make the cards available to online researchers.

April 19, 2006

Willard Library's internationally famous ghost, The Grey Lady, is featured on Syfy Channel's "Ghost Hunters". While they discover nothing while actually filming, the show's stars, Jason and Grant report seeing an unexplained "mist" in the Bayard Room while taking a break from filming.

February 19, 2007

Local business owner and pilot Robert M. Leich donated airport photos from the 1920s and 1930s to the Library.

July 22, 2007

Willard Library opened the Adele and Paul Torian Native American Leaders of the Mid-19th Century permanent exhibit. The three volumes of the folio-sized History of the Indian Tribes of North America by Thomas L. McKenney, published in 1838, 1842, and 1844, were a gift from Adele and Paul Torian.

May 22, 2008

The Captain Henry Vanderburgh Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution dedicates an historical marker in honor of library founder, Willard Carpenter. The marker, featuring an open bronze book on an unfinished gray granite pedestal, is located in the front flower bed to the right of Willard Library's front entrance.

March 28, 2010

Willard Library celebrates its 125th Anniversary by hosting an Open House. 600 Willard Library children and adult patrons attend throughout the day to celebrate Willard's past, present and future.

November 19, 2010

Dedication of the north side of Willard Park. Enhanced through a generous $100,000 donation from neighbor Berry Plastics, the park re-design features perennial flower beds, new trees, berms, donated benches, and paved pathways designed by landscape architect, Rundell Ernstberger.

November 26, 2010

The Bayard Room portrait of Henry Blount, painted by James H. Moser is restored by the Chicago Conservation Center through a generous donation from Henry Blount's ancestors.

February 28, 2011

Library Director, Greg Hager presents a proposal to the Evansville Convention & Visitors Bureau for a 2.4 million dollar, 8,000 square foot below ground expansion of Willard Library for the purpose of housing the library archives and containing a gallery capable of seating 150 people. Willard Library, having already raised 1.5 million dollars, announces that this would be the first ever physical expansion of Willard Library.