March 1927 – Community Members Form Public Library Association

On March 18, 1927, Brimfield community members met to discuss the formation of a Public Library Association. The Association was formally created on March 31, 1927. Miss Florence Wyman was elected President, and Mrs. Bertha A. Roberts was elected secretary. Other association members included Mrs. H. O. Cady, Mrs. Orvill Tucker, Mrs. Homer Tucker, Mrs. Fred Walliker, Mr. D. H. Johnson, and Mr. O. F. Kelly.

The Library was originally referred to as the Brimfield Community Library.

December 1927 – Brimfield Public Library Opens to the Public

The original Brimfield Public Library housed its collection of 600 donated books in a room in Brimfield’s Community Building and was open to the public on Saturday afternoons from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

The Library was run by volunteer librarians, including Mrs. Harold Burt, Miss Dorothy Plack, Mrs. R.B. Roberts, Mrs. H.O. Cady, and Miss Florence Wyman. Henrietta Membler, Nancy Harker, and Emily Corney assisted the librarians

March 1929 – Library Relocates Above H. O. Cady & Son Store

By early 1929, the Library collection had grown to 1150 volumes, and members of the Brimfield Library Association decided to move the collection and equipment to a larger space above the H. O. Cady & Son store on the corner of Galena and Knoxville Avenues.

The Library Association’s officers were President Florence Wyman, Vice President Ollie Cady, Secretary-Treasurer Alice Bowman, and Chairman of the Executive Committee Esther Tucker. Mrs. Claude Guyer and Mrs. Josephine Reed assisted in the Library during this time.

March 1933 – Library Briefly Closes During Great Depression

Due to limited funds, the library was closed.

November 1933 – Library Relocates and Reopens

The Library Board purchased the little building on Galena Avenue next to the Community Building for $35 in August of 1933 and transformed the space with donations of labor and resources from the community.

April 1935 – First Tax Levy Approved to Fund Library

Prior to the 1935 vote, the Brimfield Public Library was funded by subscriptions and fundraising efforts such as card parties.

In April 1935, residents approved a tax of $.0005 on all taxable property in the Village of Brimfield to provide a fund for the maintenance of the Brimfield Public Library. After the tax levy was approved, library supporters continued to host fundraising events to supplement the tax income.

Families living outside the village could purchase a card for .25 cents per year

March 1936 – Library Hours Extended

The Library Board voted to increase Library operational hours to two days per week: Saturdays and Wednesdays from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm.

January 1942 – Victory Book Campaign

Citizens were encouraged to donate books for soldiers to read during their recreation hours. Books were collected at the library, as well as door to door, and then sent to one of six Illinois camps: Scott Field, Camp Grant, Ft. Sheridan, Chanute Field, Savanna Ordinance, and the Rock Island Arsenal.

June 1973 – Library Joins Illinois Valley Library System

Membership in the Illinois Valley Library System allowed Brimfield Public Library patrons to borrow items from other system libraries.

June 1975 – November 1977 – New Building Constructed

Recognizing the need for a new, larger library, the Library Board approved the purchase of two adjoining lots located on the southwest corner of Rt. 150 and Galena Street.

Members of the Brimfield Men’s Club, area farmers, and other community members volunteered their time, labor, and equipment and worked together to demolish Dungan’s Garage, which had operated as a car dealership and mechanic shop from the early 1940’s through the 1970’s. 

15,000 bricks were salvaged and used in the construction of the Library; additional bricks and building materials were sold to help pay for the new building. 

Thomas Landes and Associates of Chillicothe was hired to design and oversee construction of the new Library.  

Members of the Board and former librarians led the ground breaking ceremony for the new Library on March 20, 1976.

The new 2,800 square foot, T-shaped Library opened to the public in November of 1977 and featured a children’s area with games and toys, reading tables, a microfilm reader, art prints, puzzle exchange, magazines, and a collection of 7,780 books.

The new Library was open to the public Monday, Tuesday and Friday 3:00-5:00, Wednesday 3:00-7:00, and Saturday 9:00-12:00 noon.  The Library was closed Thursday and Sunday.

December 1993 – Room Addition

In 1993 the Library added a 30 by 30 foot square room on the south west corner of the Library.

The room functioned as additional collection and programming space until it was transformed into a maker space during the 2015 Addition and Renovation Project.

September 1994 – Conversion to a District

Until September of 1994, the Brimfield Public Library was a Municipal Library under the jurisdiction of the Village of Brimfield.  In June of 1994, the Library Board began the process of becoming a District Library.

April 1995 – District Boundaries Expanded

Residents of the Village of Brimfield and surrounding 75 miles, approved a referendum to expand the Brimfield Public Library District’s boundaries to match the Brimfield CUSD 309 boundaries. The Library’s service population increased from 787 to 3,343.

May 2000 – September 2003 – Building Expansion Project

Recognizing the need for additional collection space, the Library Board began exploring options for adding on to the Library building in the spring of 2000.  

To help fund the expansion project, the Library applied for a $250,000 Illinois State Library Construction Grant. After an intense 6 month application process, which included hiring an architect to develop a plan for the renovation and expansion project, the Brimfield Public Library District was one of 16 libraries to receive grant funds. The project was paid for with grant funds, library funds, and a mortgage.

Construction of the 4,200 square foot addition began in July 2002 and was completed in September 2003. The expansion created dedicated areas for adult, teen, and childrens’ collections, a Meeting room, and space for additional public computers.

Gary Olsen of Champaign based Olsen and Associates Architects was the lead architect, and T. Haefli & Sons of Peoria was the general contractor.

November 2012 – June 2015 – Activity Room Addition Project

Recognizing the need for a larger space for Library and community events, the Library Board decided to add an Activity Room on the south east side of the Library. The addition and renovation project was paid for with library funds and a mortgage.

At just under 2,000 square feet, the Activity Room features a warming kitchen, two restrooms, and a storm shelter. 

Several small renovations of the existing building were completed during the Addition Project. Staff space was downsized to create two new Study Rooms and the Kress Room was transformed into a maker space.  

Wayne Nowlan from ATSE Consultants was the lead architect, and Bishop Brothers was the general contractor.