History of the Bremen Public Library
The first "town library" was begun in 1924 under the auspices of the American Legion and the Town Board. The library was housed in one room of the town hall and included a few thousand books, some shelving, a desk and a chair. Miss Edna Ellis was appointed librarian.
The need for a "public library" in Bremen, Indiana prompted an organizational meeting on June 9, 1953. The Bremen Kiwanis Club sponsored the meeting. Plans for a library building were started here. Mrs. W.E. Walter made a donation of $15,000.00. Mrs. Walter purchased the lot of the present site of the library on the corner of Bike and Jackson Streets with $3,000.00 of the $15,000.00 donation. The library officially named the public library the W.E. Walter Memorial Library.
In 1956, upon the agreement of the Bremen Town Board and the W.E. Walter Memorial Library Board and upon petition of the required number of signatures, the library was established as a tax supported entity under the 1947 Indiana Library Law as the Bremen Town and German Township Public Library.
By 1965, because of growth of the community and the need for more space in the library, the Library Board was looking to expand the facility. Opposition to the expansion delayed the addition to the library until 1972.
By March 1972 preliminary plans for a new library addition had been approved. The addition opened in November 1973. Renovation of the original building was completed in January 1974. This greatly expanded the adult and children's departments and gave more room for patron use. Miss Gwen Berry was the librarian at the time.
The library and the community continued to grow. The need for more space and materials was very evident over the years from 1973 to 1990. Technology was becoming a new "universe" for libraries and to stay a thriving, educational entity the library had to become part of the computer information age.
In 1989 the Bremen Library Board made the decision to expand the library from the current 8800 square feet to approximately 17,000 square feet. A Leasing Corporation was formed and a petition drive for the proposed $1.7 million expansion went into full swing.
The architect for the building project was Mr. William Koster of Koster & Associates of Cleveland, Ohio. The general contractor was Ira Mast & Son of Elkhart, Indiana. A bond issue, a first for this library, financed the project.
The addition/renovation project was completed in March 1992. It doubled the space of the library and added many new and exciting things to the library. There is a separate audiovisual room with a listening center, an elevator, typing room, large reading areas throughout the library, a study room, a large meeting room and space for many computers for public use.
Since 1992 the library continues to grow. In 1995 the library joined with St. Joseph County Public Library, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library and Plymouth Public Library in a circulation computer cluster, which shows materials available at all four libraries. The library became automated; meaning, circulation is done by computers, in 1996. The library's card catalog was retained and now there is an online catalog. Many computers in both adult and children's departments are available for public use.
The library currently houses over 68,000 items, serves a population of over 8,400 and has 5,000 registered borrowers.