History of Brookfield Public Library

The first library in Brookfield was in 1881. It consisted of 63 members who paid a fee of two dollars per year plus twenty-five cents quarterly dues. It had a book collection of 225 volumes. The collection was first housed in the office of Dr. J.C.Kelley and later moved to the office of Dr. T.P.Oven. This first library was destroyed by fire in 1882.

The next attempt to have a library was in 1895 by the Tourist Club of Brookfield. This library was housed in a room in the Wheeler Bank. A small fee was charged for the use of the books and club members acted as librarians. This library was discontinued after a few years and its collection donated to the schools.

In 1915, Hannah Hull Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution started a library which was housed in the Frances Building. The D.A.R. members were volunteer librarians for about three years. About this same time Mayor Ben White contacted the Carnegie Foundation about obtaining a grant to build a city library. The city was advised they would need a lot to build on and to vote a tax that would furnish a yearly income of one-tenth of the amount of the grant needed. In April, 1918 the tax was approved and the first library board appointed. A lot at the corner of East Wood and Linn Street was chosen to be the site of the Brookfield Carnegie Library Building. Unfortunately, before the new building was completed the Francis Building where the DAR library was, was destroyed by fire on February 1, 1919. All of the books were lost except those out in circulation. Brookfield Carnegie Library opened in June 1919.

Miss Mae Snow was appointed to be the first official librarian of the Brookfield Carnegie Library, a position she held for almost 40 years, resigning in January of 1958. Those succeeding Miss Snow as director were Mrs. Amanda Barton (1958-60), Altha Washburn (1960-76), Helen Burns (1976-88), Neoma Techau (1988-93), Pam Hunter (1993-98), Leigh Ann Smith (1998-99), and Gina Smith (1999-Present).

Brookfield Carnegie Library was condemned and a new library built. The new library is named Brookfield Public Library. It is located at 102 East Boston Street and opened on July 15, 1996. It consists of 6000 sq. ft. with a meeting room, genealogy area, children’s area, adult area, study/reading area and  more.