Bryan-Bennett Library

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Director's Message

Welcome to the Bryan-Bennett Library Website. 

During the last year, Bryan-Bennett Library was remodeled, and we hope you are enjoying the updated decor.

Walls in the east side of the building are brighter, and new furniture awaits our visitors throughout the building. All of this was made possible by the generosity of: the Illinois State Library, which provided a $35,000 grant through its Live and Learn Construction Grant Program; the Walmart Foundation and Salem Walmart, which provided $2,500; Rogers-Atkins Funeral Home; Security Alarm; and the Salem American Legion Auxiliary.

Bryan-Bennett moved to 315 South Maple in 2008. Our facility provides 1,500 square feet more of area for stacks and seating.  Additionally, we have 2 meeting rooms. A larger room that comfortably seats 200 people and a more modest-sized meeting room that will accommodate approximately 20 people.

When these rooms overflow, and yes they actually do, a group of about 20 can easily meet in the newly designated Reference Room, which also doubles as a quiet study room.

As part of the remodel of 2016-2017, the Library Board also designated a comfortable study zone in the main library. It has been dedicated as the William Jennings Bryan Reading Area. This pays tribute to Mr. Bryan, one of the Library's original benefactors, as well as the late Sherm Doolen. Mr. Doolen was approaching 10 years on the Library Board when he passed in December 2017. He was a large part of the Library's development in the past 10 years and a major force of many integral services in Marion County for more than 50 years. Mr. Doolen was a passionate advocate of Salem history and was a major force in creating the Reading Area.

The Friends of Bryan-Bennett Library also operate a cozy Book Sale Room. Through volunteer effort, this room is open Mondays through Saturdays. Hours Monday through Thursday are Noon to 3 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, the Room is open 10 a.m. to Noon.

Our ally in serving you, the Marion County Genealogical Society, is located in a large office on the east side of the building.

As a member of the Illinois Heartland Library System, Bryan-Bennett Library can provide its patrons access to collections at most of the libraries located in Central and Southern Illinois. If Bryan-Bennett does not have a particular book, patrons can usually request the book from any Library System member through use of the WebPAC or at Bryan-Bennett Library with the assistance of Library staff.

The Bryan-Bennett Library Board of Trustees and staff are dedicated to doing everthing possible within their power to help meet your educational, informational and enterainment needs. We recognize that our only purpose-for-being is to help you.

We also recognize that the presence of a library says so much about the quality of life in a community; and having a library says a lot about the type of community that local leaders want to offer their constituents. So, we are grateful for the support given to the Library by the Salem Mayor, City Council and City Manager. We also are grateful for the sustenance that we get from other organizations in the community, such as the various civic clubs and the Salem Chamber of Commerce.

One precious source of strength for us is the Friends of Bryan-Bennett Library, a non-profit organization that provides monetary and logistical resources for Library services and development.

But, above all else, our most valuable asset is our patrons -- the residents of Salem and surrounding areas.  The patrons are our purpose for existing.

Sincerely, it is a privilege and a pleasure to serve you.

Please visit us often.

If you have not visited us lately, please take a few minutes to stop by and see all of the new ways that we have to make your life more comfortable.

Yours truly,

Kim Keller

Library Director