Enlightening and Inspiring Generations with Generations of Ideas

They say there is no ‘free lunch’ in life.  But there are free books!  I still can’t believe I can go to my local library and get just abut any book in the world – and I don’t have to pay a dime!!  It’s amazing!  The library is truly the greatest invention of our civilization.

Dan Gutman
to the LaSalle Public Library on the occasion of the Library's Centennial Celebration, 2007

Genealogy & Local History

"The People's Friend" Westclox 1938 film

Go back in time to 1938, and take an historic, behind-the scenes look at Westclox, and the production of all manner of clocks -- from wind-up table clocks and alarm clocks. Located in LaSalle, Illinois, Westclox employed thousands of area residents, who produced clocks for a huge domestic market -- one valued at $40 million in 1938, as well as markets worldwide.

The film, "The People's Friend," captures the pride and ability of Westclox workers, and innovations and scope of the company, and the quality and extensive variety of the timepieces produced by Westclox in one small, Illinois town.

Please click on the video player below. If you have a slow internet connection, it may take a few minutes to load the video fully.

You can checkout a copy of "The People's Friend" on DVD from the Library.

Remembering Westclox

In light of recent events, we at the LaSalle Public Library would like to capture the essence of Westclox through the experience of those who knew the legendary building, company and personnel best. Share a memory or story about a time, event, or person connected to Westclox through writing.

Help us capture your memories by submitting this form to a staff member at the circulation desk.  These memories and stories will be displayed in the library and later kept as a part of our local history collection.  Thank you for your time and contribution in helping us to truly remember and honor Westclox!


The Genealogy and Local History room is located on the second level of the library.  Items in this collection do not circulate.  Some of the items located in this collection include:

  • City directories dating back to 1858

  • City of LaSalle history books

  • LaSalle Peru Township High School yearbooks dating back to the early 1900s

  • St. Bede year books

  • LaSalle county history books

  • The LaSalle newspaper on microfilm from 1906 to December 2003 and on CD-Rom from January 2004 on

  • Census information in hardback and microfilm

  • Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for the City of LaSalle on microfilm

  • Illinois history books

  • Information on surrounding towns

  • Starved Rock State Park books

  • Illinois & Michigan Canal Books

  • Paul Carus books

  • Other miscellaneous LaSalle items

Individuals may request the use of the room at the service desk on the second floor.  Patrons may bring paper and pencil into the Genealogy and Local History Room, however, all other items such as coats, purses, backpacks, etc. will be locked in a cabinet behind the service desk.  Other genealogy and local history sources may be found at the LaSalle County Historical Society and the LaSalle County Genealogy Guild as well as other public libraries in the area.

The LaSalle Library provides obituary searches for a fee of $5.00 per search.  Simply provide a written request containing a specific date or date range, a self-addressed stamped envelope, and payment to the library.  For more information, pleace call (815) 223-2341.



Please note: This Website is only accessible from  computers located at the LaSalle Public Library.

Ancestry - Library Edition  has unparalleled coverage of the United States and the United Kingdom, including census, vital, church, court, and immigration records, as well as record collections from Canada and other areas. This collection of more than 4,000 databases and two billion names is essential to having a broad genealogy collection.  The Ancestry Library Edition collection has approximately 4,000 databases including key collections such as U.S. Federal Census images and indexes from 1790 to 1930; the Map Center containing more than 1,000 historical maps; American Genealogical Biographical Index (over 200 volumes); Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage (over 150 volumes); The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1630; Social Security Death Index (updated monthly); WWI Draft Registration Cards; Federal Slave Narratives; and a strong Civil War collection.  This database was made possible through the Alwin C. Carus Trust.



When accessing this database from home, you will need to have your LaSalle Library Card Barcode to log in.

HeritageQuest Online includes all of the images, and extensive indexing, from the 1790 - 1930 U.S. federal censuses. It offers more than 20,000 book titles, including nearly 8,000 family histories and over 12,000 local histories. Additionally, there are more than 250 primary-source documents such as tax lists, city directories, probate records, and more.  Researchers can use HeritageQuest Online to find their ancestors, trace their paths across America , and learn what life was like in the areas where they settled.  This database was made possible through the Alwin C. Carus Trust.

Other Genealogy Links

Family Search

Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet

Genealogy and Family History Research in Illinois

Illinois State Archives

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library

LaSalle County Genealogy Guild

U.S. GenWeb

Yahoo Genealogy

Illinois Genealogy Resources

Family History Library Catalog

Illinois Vital Records