Brimfield Public Library District
The first library in Brimfield was opened in the coat-check room of the Brimfield Community Building in 1925. From this humble birthplace, it progressed to an upstairs room in Cady's General Store (the building next to Brimfield Hardware). A library board was formed in 1934, and the old post office building was purchased for $25.00. The library was housed in this one-room, frame building until 1976.
In 1976, The Brimfield Area Men's Club, with many local volunteers, donations, and a library mortgage, purchased two lots on the corner of Knoxville Street and Galena Avenue (the current library site), and built a 3,900 sq. ft. brick building. This library building served Brimfield residents for 25 years.
Until 1995 Brimfield Public Library was a municipal library under the jurisdiction of the Village of Brimfield. In 1995 the library board voted to become a district library, having it's own authority over all aspects of the business. Brimfield Public Library became Brimfield Public Library District. A referenda was put on the ballot to annex the area outside the Village limits so the library district boundaries would become the same as the existing Brimfield CUSD 309 limits. The referenda passed. The library service population increased from 787 to 3,343. This was truly a turning point in the library's history. Due to the increase in revenue this referenda provided, the library was able to thrive and become the vital community resource center we enjoy today.
In 2000, the library board decided it was time to expand the library. In 2001, to help fund the project, they decided to apply for a $250,000.00 Illinois library construction grant that was available through the Live & Learn program, administered by the Illinois State Library. A building and renovation plan was developed to build a 4,200 sq. ft. addition, and a renovation of the existing library building. For nearly 6 months, the detailed grant application was developed and fine tuned by the library Director. Libraries from across the state of Illinois applied for this competitive grant; to which, only 16 libraries were eventually awarded, including Brimfield Public Library District. With grant funds, library funds, and a mortgage, the building plan became a reality. Construction began in July, 2002, and was completed in September, 2003. The project was lead by architect Gary Olsen from Champaign, and general contractor T. Haefli & Sons from Peoria.
In 2015, the library board decided to add a new activity room on to the south east side of the library. With input and direction from Patricia Smith, the library Director, and Katie Hahn, the Youth Services Manager, plans were made for the new room. It was designed to be large enough for all library programs and activities, and would also function as a venue community residents could use for their personal events. At just under 2,000 square feet, the spacious new room has a warming kitchen, two restrooms, and a storage/storm shelter room. Library funds and a mortgage funded the project. Wayne Nowlan from ATSE Consultants was the lead architect, and Bishop Brothers was the general contractor. The beautifully decorated room was a grand addition for the library and the community, and continues to be one of the most popular spaces within the library.
Many community members have generously given their time and served on the library board throughout the years. The library has had 4 library Directors; Francis Blundy, from 1934 to 1968; Wilma Young, from 1968 to 1993, and Patricia A. Smith, from 1993 to 2018; and Cheryl Harlow from 2018 to present.
Brimfield Public Library District is a very progressive library that maintains a home-town atmosphere and provides personalized customer service. The library houses about 25,000 items; however, being part of an online consortium of libraries, patrons have access to millions of items in a variety of formats.
With a beautiful, spacious facility, and a dedicated board and staff, Brimfield Public Library District residents have a resource center the entire community can truly be proud of.
The mission of the Brimfield Public Library District is to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of our community by providing materials and services.