Polo, Illinois, is in the state’s northwest corner about 12 miles north of Dixon and 6 miles west of White Pines National Park in Ogle County. The Polo Public Library is located at 302 W. Mason Street.
Like many early libraries, the first Polo Library was a modest undertaking started in 1870 by Miss Franc Barber, a teacher in the public school at Polo. The library was located in the former law offices of John Weller. The first library required a membership fee to checkout books. According to the library history at the Polo Library website, the librarian “had to haul the wood for the stove, the kerosene for the lamps, wash the windows and keep the place neat and clean. She also had to mend all books and even sterilize books that had been handled by anyone with measles or scarlet fever.”
In 1891, the library ownership was transferred to the town becoming the Buffalo Free Public Library (Polo is located in the Buffalo Township). At the turn of the 20th century, a request was made to Andrew Carnegie for funds to build a new library. Carnegie had two requirements of those sought library funds: 1. real estate was available and owned by the requesting organization on which to build and 2. the organization demonstrated the ability to maintain the facility. Those requirements being met, Carnegie provided $10,000 in funds to build the library. In 1904, the new building was erected where the law office stood. It is still officially “Buffalo Township Free Public Library.” The library is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.
Some background information and image from Polo Library website.