The Bennett Public Library Billerica's Crown Jewel


The Bennett Public Library Association

The Bennett Public Library AssociationBuilt in 1881 by Mrs. Eleanor Bennett in memory of her husband Joshua, The Bennett Public Library is located at 3 Concord Road, on the common in Billerica Center. In the absence of an official town library, The Bennett Public Library Association was formed to oversee the operation of what was Billerica's first public library. Dues were collected to cover operating expenses and the building was filled with books, historic artifacts and works of art from around the world. The library thrived and filled an important role as Billerica's cultural and meeting center, and also housed the collection of the Billerica Historical Society for much of the early 20th century. It remained the town's only public library until 1980, when a new facility was built a few doors away.

Today, the Bennett serves as Billerica's only historic rental facility. Complete with tables, chairs, and plenty of prep-space, this gorgeous piece of New England history provides a charming and elegant touch to more than 100 weddings, parties, meetings, and other special events every year.

Please visit our calendar to see if the Bennett is available for your next event.

No longer needed as a library, the Bennett saw the opportunity to begin a new chapter. It opened its doors to educational programs, cultural events and classes featuring art, music, language, photography, basket weaving, environmental issues, and drama. The programs were well publicized and attendance was widespread, from children after school to adults in the evenings and on weekends.

By the early 1990's, over one hundred years of age and activity had begun taking its toll on the building, and an aggressive rehabilitation campaign began. The first-installed electrical system was replaced, safety systems upgraded, the original steam heating system rebuilt with a new boiler, and the pipes for the building's main water supply were replaced. Large portions of the original slate roof were repaired, and the building's impressive Victorian masonry was cleaned, repointed and repaired.

In 1999, more extensive exterior architectural restoration began. A grant funded by Welch Foods, Inc. along with funds from the Association's trust, allowed for the complete rebuilding of the building's signature, oriental-influenced steeple. In 2003, the original washroom became handicap accessible, and a new restroom and catering support facilities were added. In 2004, the interior was redecorated in period color, wallcovering and drapery. In 2005, an impressive deck was added to the rear of the building, to give it more functional flexibility and the grounds were landscaped. In 2006, the fluorescent lighting that had been added in the 1960's was replaced with turn of the century style replica gas fixtures. In addition, exquisite oriental rugs and original artwork from the library's collection re-established their places of honor in the main hall and the Homer reading room. Restoration and refinishing of the exterior and interior remains a work in progress.

Throughout its rejuvenation, the Bennett Public Library has continued to serve the community, and its renaissance has been a positive step for Billerica. The building has welcomed groups like The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Billerica, The Billerica Museum, the Billerica Lions Club, and local theater troupe The Atlantis Playmakers. As an integral part of Billerica's holiday celebrations, the Bennett hosts an annual ?Pictures with Santa? day and fully participates in the lighting of the common?s trees and First Night. The Bennett has also hosted numerous wedding, bridal and baby showers, birthdays, graduations, family and business functions.

We would like to extend an invitation to you to join in the restoration and preservation of this historically significant building that has been part of the Billerica community for over 125 years. Please fill out a membership form and become part of making the Bennett a vibrant, active entity again.

Terry Trent
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