The Maywood Public Library (MPL) is located at 121 South 5th Avenue in downtown Maywood. Maywood Park is located west of (behind) the MPL, extending to 1st Avenue.
The Fred Hampton Family Aquatic Center and the Veterans Memorial are both located in Maywood Park. The large block is bound by railroad tracks to the north and Oak Street to the south.
The Maywood Public Library is in easy walking distance of the Maywood Metra Station. The Maywood Police Department is south of the Maywood Public Library on 5th Avenue at Oak Street.
Today, the Maywood Village Office is kitty corner to the Maywood Public Library at 200 South 5th Avenue. This is not to be confused with the Maywood Village Hall is located at 40 Madison Street, Maywood, IL 60153.
Edwenna Perkins is the Mayor and Village Board President. Bill Barlow is the Village Manager.
Sacred Heart Knanaya Catholic Parish at 611 Maple Street is another local point of interest. This parish, founded in 1983, serves approximately 450 families. It appeared in a news story last month on WBEZ (91.5 FM), Chicago’s NPR station.
Sacred Heart is one of two Knanaya parish churches (the other being St. Mary’s Knanaya Catholic Church of Chicago in Morton Grove) in the Chicago area. The two parishes serve 4,395 Knanaya Catholics living in the states of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.
St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago is an Eastern Rite Catholic eparchy in the United States. Mar Thoma Shleeha (Saint Thomas the Apostle) Syro Malabar Cathedral, founded in 1985, is at 5000 St. Charles Road in Bellwood, Illinois (west of Maywood).
Early on, the MPL was housed in the basement of the Maywood Village Hall. Within the course of a few years, it moved into the Waterworks Building and then moved back to the Village Hall, where it occupied two rooms.
The Maywood Public Library petitioned industrialist-turned-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie (1835-1912) for money to build a library building. In 1904, Carnegie agreed to donate $12,000 for the construction of a library building after the Village of Maywood guaranteed it would expend $1,250 annually on its maintenance.
This proved to be an insufficient sum to provide heat, light, and equipment for the building, so E.T. Hughes, Chairman of the Building Committee of the MPL Board of Trustees, arranged for the sale of $4,500 in bonds to pay for equipment. The Maywood Public Library Building was dedicated in April of 1905. It opened to the public on March 31, 1906.
A number of towns in Illinois have or had Carnegie libraries, including Chicago Heights, Downers Grove, Evanston, Glen Ellyn, Highland Park, La Grange, and St. Charles in Chicagoland, plus Rockford and Waukegan in Far Northern Illinois and Delavan in Central Illinois. The Aurora Public Library’s central library, the Main Library, has been housed for over a century in a Carnegie Library at 1 East Benton Street on Stolp Island (as I explained in “The Aurora Public Library,” Parts I and II). However, the Aurora Public Library is building a New Main Library one block west (“State Librarian Awards Aurora Public Library $10.8 Million Grant”).
Other public library systems I have profiled that have or had Carnegie libraries are the Gary and Crown Point Public Library Districts in Lake County, Indiana; the Toronto Public Library and the Hamilton Public Library in Ontario; and The New York Public Library. Between 1916 and 1961, the Carnegie Corporation of New York spent almost $9,000,000 on libraries in African colonies of the British Empire, two-thirds of which went to projects in the Union of South Africa.
In the last decade, it began to issue grants again to existent South African libraries to foster literacy (“Carnegie Libraries in South Africa”). Also, as I explained in “The University of Chicago’s Graduate Library School (1926-1989),” the Carnegie Corporation provided $1,000,000 in 1926 to establish The Graduate Library School at The University of Chicago, which began to admit students in 1928 and closed in 1989.
At the time the MPL opened, it has a collection of 4,648 volumes. It had 883 registered patrons and circulated 19,016 books a year.
The MPL opened its first branch in Garfield School in 1924 and a second branch in a real estate office on 17th Avenue in 1928. The second branch moved to a rented storefront on 17th Avenue where it remained for sixty-eight years.
In October of 1936, the MPL Board of Trustees received word that their application for a P.W.A. grant to remodel the 1,000-square-foot library had been accepted. As a result of the $27,000 remodeling project, the old Carnegie library had both a children’s room and a school room that held duplicate books to be sent out to school classroom libraries; a room for young adults, a cataloging room, and a boardroom on the 2nd floor; a main reading room, a reference room, books, magazines, and newspapers on the 1st floor; and a community room.
The MPL housed 20,000 books and served 7,600 registered patrons. It circulated 114,500 books and periodicals.
The estate of former MPL Board member Fred Volkmann provided $95,000 for interior renovations undertaken in 1960. There were yet more renovations in 1970.
Twenty-one years later, Maywood residents voted to separate the library from the municipal government as a library district. This was supposed to guarantee dedicated funding for the library.
 Currently, a few Knanaya Catholics in the U.S. are petitioning the Holy See through the canon law system to have discriminatory practices in the Knanaya Catholic Church grounded in endogamy be dropped, as recounted by Odette Yousef. Knanites who married non-Knanites have complained about not being allowed to marry or baptize their children in Knanaya Catholic churches, about not being allowed to sit on church committees, about their homes being shunned during Christmas carols, etc. After Bishop Mar Jacob Angadiath of the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago issued a letter ordering parishes to be more accepting of heterogamous families, hundreds of Knanaya Catholics protested in March outside his residence in west suburban Elmhurst.
 There are approximately 400,000 Knanaya Catholics worldwide. They practice endogamy, which means they are only allowed to marry each other. Also, one cannot convert to Knanaya Catholicism; one must be born into it. The reason is because they believe they are direct descendants of a group of about 400 ethnically Jewish Christians in seventy-two families who moved from southern Mesopotamia to the port city of Cranganore in southern India in 345 A.D. [According to A. Medlycott’s article in The Catholic Encyclopedia this small colony was led by a Syrian merchant named Mar Thoma Cana and they were fellow Syrians.] Essentially, they formed a Catholic caste. They journeyed to Malabar in part to help the church that had been founded by St. Thomas the Apostle, but maintained a distinct identity. Until the arrival of the Portuguese in India, both Christian groups had native priests guided by Syrian bishops. In the 1600s, the church founded by St. Thomas divided in two, with the larger part forming what is now the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, one of twenty-two Eastern Rites of the Roman Catholic Church, and a smaller group forming the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, which is an Oriental Orthodox Church aligned with the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, and the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, which is an archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch. [In 1930, Bishop Mar Ivanios broke off from the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church to form the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, another East Rite of the Catholic Church, which today has about 500,000 members.] The Eparchy of Kottayam, founded in 1911, has been a metropolitan see since 2005. The liturgies of both the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Rites are used at Sacred Heart Knanaya Catholic Parish and St. Mary’s Knanaya Catholic Church of Chicago.
 The St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago, founded in 2001, is the only Syro-Malabar eparchy outside India, and has jurisdiction over all Syro-Malabar Catholics in the U.S. The cathedral parish serves 1,100 families.