Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new library, to be built at the corner of West Kennedy Road and Walker Street, were held on Sunday, March 27, 1983, construction of the 6,250 square foot building by D. Koerner Construction, Inc., Coal City, Illinois, began as soon as weather permitted.
The Fossil Ridge Public Library District opened the doors to the new facility on December 12, 1983, after nearly 6 months of construction. The architects of the building were Keiser and Associates of Geneva, Illinois.
As of June 1, 1989, the part of Essex Township that is part of the Reed-Custer Unit District and, as of December, 1990, Custer Township is now part of the district enabling them to have library service. The village of Braceville became part of the district in 1993. The townships of Essex and Salina, including the village of Bonfield, along with the communities of Gardner, South Wilmington, and East Brooklyn were annexed into the district in November, 1995.
Interesting items for information purposes are: number of volumes owned by Fossil Ridge Public Library District in 1989 was 23,596, in 1996, there were 48,157 volumes and currently there are 55,698 items; the library is -13,142 square feet; and the library is mortgage free. The library has become a focal point of our community where various types of workshops, programming for adults and children, community meetings, and senior citizens get-togethers are held.
New additions were designed by James Keiser of Geneva, Illinois and observing architect during construction was John Marshall, also of Geneva. General contractor for the construction of the additions was Ray Serena Construction of Gardner, Illinois. Construction began in July, 1989, and was completed in December, 1989.
Bookmobile service was established and began serving the communities in the district on February 20, 1995. The bookmobile also makes bi-monthly visits to several schools in the library district.
There are three schools located in Braidwood which are all in the Reed-Custer Unit School District. There is one in Custer Park, Braceville, Bonfield, South Wilmington, and two in Gardner. Churches are found in all the communities within the district. There are several community clubs such as the Friends of the Library, Lions, Lioness Club, PTO, CCW, Ladies Aid Society, Masons, Senior Citizens Group, Knights of Columbus, Boy and Girl Scouts, soccer and baseball organizations are found within the library district. The Braidwood Park District and the Godley Park District are also in the district.
The Braidwood Dunes, Braidwood Savannah, Braidwood Lake and Mazonia are located in the district. People in the district avail themselves of several recreation clubs which offer swimming, fishing, fossil hunting, golf, tennis, picnic areas, camping, etc. Bicycling is also popular in the area. Little league, minor league baseball and soccer are three of the main activities during the summer months. The library provides an excellent summer reading program and activities for all ages.