The Braidwood Public Library and Board were established on March 24, 1970 at the Braidwood City Council Meeting. Prior to the opening of the library on November 2, 1970, there was no library in the city for approximately 60 years. The first library location was at 220 E. Main Street, in a store front type building that was part of the Union Block on Main Street and was staffed by volunteers.
Braidwood is rich in history. It is an old coal mining community. Underground and surface mining were both done in Reed Township. Braidwood was named for James Braidwood, 1831-1870, who was a civil engineer and coal mine operator. Coal was first discovered here in 1864.
The surface or strip mining changed the geographic area. After the coal had been mined, trees were planted and pits were stocked with fish. These pits were converted to lakes and recreation areas have been developed. One great treasure from the strip mining was the finding of fossils. Fossils from the library district area are known worldwide. The library owns and has an extensive display of fossils from our local area. The Illinois State Fossil, “Tully Monster,” is part of this collection.
The library also houses the Bolin Family Wildlife exhibit. Over 194 specimens of birds are part of this exhibit, which has been identified by Eastern Illinois University.