The Illinois State Historical Library was created in 1889 by the Illinois General Assembly, which charged the new library with collecting and preserving "books, pamphlets, manuscripts, monographs, writings, and other materials of historical interest and useful to the historian, bearing upon the political, religious, or social history of the State of Illinois from the earliest known period of time."
More than a century later the mission is continued at the new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. The Library is a public, non-circulating research facility that contains material on all aspects of Illinois' history. Particularly noteworthy are the Library's holdings in published resources, manuscripts, newspapers, audiovisual, and Lincolniana. The Library is also the premier repository for materials relating to the history of the Prairie State.