One of the treats from my recent visit to Illinois was seeing the new library in my old neighborhood. Laura and I lived in Brookfield for about nine years and our house was only a half mile from the library. It was lovely to be able to walk to there.
The last time I wrote about the Brookfield Public Library was in August 2013 when the town was making moves toward building a new library. We moved to Connecticut in December 2013 and I did not keep up with their progress. It was a lovely surprise to come upon the new library while out for a drive one day with my Mom.
The new library opened on July 31, 2021. Of course I took a few photos to share on the blog. As usual, the place was full of patrons so I didn’t take many inside photos.
First, some historic photos.
The Brookfield Public Library got its start from a Carnegie grant in 1913. The library opened in May 1914. Pictured below is that first library as it looked on a winter evening in the 1950s.
It’s always inviting to walk up to a library with windows aglow on a cold winter’s night. So cozy inside surrounded by books.
I grew up in Cicero, IL, a few towns away, but some cousins from Brookfield remember the Carnegie library as small and dark. That first library was demolished in the 1980s to make way for a library that better served the changing needs of the community.
As you can see from the photo below, the land that the new library was on is wedge-shaped. It’s at an intersection where three streets intersect.
And now — drumroll — below is the new library!
The new library is named after a local philanthropist: the Linda Sokol Francis Brookfield Library.
Not sure what the siding materials are, but the effect brings to mind dragon scales (at least to me), which I think is pretty cool.
Outdoor seating is always appreciated.
The reference desk on the second floor. To the left are DVDs, in the foreground are public computers, and not pictured off to the right are the adult book stacks, periodicals, and study rooms. The children’s section is downstairs.
Comfy looking work chairs.
A must have for all modern libraries: A Maker Studio.
Back outside. I took this photo from the new garden across the street.
The library’s Statement of Purpose: “The Linda Sokol Francis Brookfield Library is an institution for the general education and recreation of the citizens of the Village of Brookfield, the citizens of Illinois, and of any person who requests library services.”
My Mom’s dog, Suki, inspecting the vegetation.
This new butterfly garden and green space is where the old libraries stood. On Episode 161 of the Book Cougars (which comes out on 8/2/22) I mistakenly said that this garden is where a home once stood. I was wrong! The new library is actually where a church had been. You can see photos of that on my post from 2013. Looking at those old photos made me realize my error. From photos I’ve seen online, it looks like the old library was razed after the new one opened.
Books, butterflies, and dogs. Three of my favorite things.
It was wonderful to see that the dream came true and Brookfield has a wonderful new library that’ll serve the community for at least a few generations to come.
Linda Sokol Francis Brookfield Library
3541 Park Ave
Brookfield, IL 60513