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Woman’s will leaves Waukegan library $98,000

The Carnegie Library building located northeast corner Sheridan Road WashingtStreet Waukegan. | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times Media

The Carnegie Library building located on the northeast corner of Sheridan Road and Washington Street in Waukegan. | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 18, 2013 1:19AM

WAUKEGAN — A former part-time librarian who died last spring left the Waukegan Public Library $98,000 in her will, the largest individual donation to the library since Andrew Carnegie issued the funds to build the city’s ancestral Sheridan Road facility in 1901.

Eleanor Moore, who was also known to generations of students as a teacher at Waukegan Township High School, died in April 2012 at age 97, and library officials were informed of the bequest last summer. Spokeswoman Elizabeth Stearns said Tuesday the money has been received by the Waukegan Public Library Foundation and will be invested in certificates of deposit to fund future initiatives.

“The generous gift helps to ensure the library’s continued ability to support the educational needs of the Waukegan community through free classes, programs and literacy support for all ages,” library officials said in a statement, adding that Moore’s declaration of trust was signed in June 2001.

Moore was born in downstate Danville and moved to Waukegan in 1920. In 1935, the Lake Forest College graduate began her career at Waukegan High, teaching social studies for 40 years before retiring in June 1975. Stearns said Moore’s employment at the library predated current staffers, so officials were checking to see exactly when she worked there.

With her bequest, Eleanor Moore joins Ray Bradbury in the Bradbury Legacy Circle, a group of donors leaving a portion of their estate to the Waukegan Public Library Foundation.

According to Stearns, Bradbury left a collection of books to be donated to the library following his death last summer, a gift that is still in the process of being put together.

Carnegie’s donation 112 years ago was one of $40 million that the steel and railroad magnate handed out between 1886 and 1919 to build 1,679 libraries across the U.S., according to the National Park Service. Adjusted for inflation, his $25,000 gift in 1901 would be worth about $675,000 in 2013.

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