During 1936, through the efforts of Jesse A. McCue, supervisor of Bourbonnais Township, Bradley was able to establish a public library as a W.P.A. project with Mrs. Irene McCue as librarian. The library was located in a store building at 416 West Broadway. The library collection consisted of 200 books which were discards of the Chicago Public Library. These, along with books borrowed from the Illinois State Library, comprised the total number of books available for circulation. In 1942 the W.P.A. withdrew its support, and since the library was allowed to keep the book collection, and since no funds were available for library expenses, several people in the community donated their time and labor in order that the public might continue to have library service. At this time, the library was moved to new quarters in the Bradley State and Savings Bank building. After two years of struggling along to maintain the library, and after much consultation with the State Library in Springfield, Bradley was able to begin operating as a tax-supported institution in 1944. By this time, through donations of books and money by the citizens of Bradley, the collection had grown to 1000 books and had a total circulation of 5329 for the first fiscal year.
The first library board was formed early in 1944, and consisted of: Mr. Ben F. LeMaster (president), Miss Evelyn Weakley (secretary), Mrs. Frances McCue (treasurer), Miss Anges Stelter (member), Mr. Francis Marquis (member), and Mr. Charles Wallace (member).
In 1959 the library moved again to a newly erected building at 422 West Broadway. At that time the collection consisted of 9355 books and 56 periodical subscriptions. 31,940 items were circulated that year. Soon after the Bradley Public Library joined the Bur Oak Library System (now Heritage Trail Library System) to provide inter-library loan to patrons.
By 1984, the cramped quarters on West Broadway required the building of the most recent home for the library. The current 12,000 square foot building on 296 Fulton Avenue was built to satisfy the library's growing needs. Since the latest move, the Bradley Public Library became the Bradley Public Library District 1987, incorporating the Village of Bradley and some surrounding areas.
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