Our personal “about us” story begins when the Bristol Public Library originated in 1917 when the Elkhart Public Library proposed to open a new branch in the Bristol town hall. The librarian, Mable Sanger, opened the library with a total of 400 volumes.

In 1921, economic considerations forced the Elkhart Library to require payment for their services in Bristol. At that point, the Bristol Public Library Association was organized for the sole purpose of creating an independent library. In the first year of creation, the board canvassed the town for donations of books or money in order to build up the collection. Later on, taxes were levied. This gave the library a chance to purchase books. For the next 40 years, Lena Oberholzer acted as the head librarian, starting with a salary of $2.00 a day.

In the year 1927, the Bristol Library moved into a house directly across the street from the Post Office. By the year 1930, the library was open three days a week and housed over 7,000 volumes.

Indiana state library laws were revised in 1947 dissolving Class III libraries, such as Bristol Public Library, unless they accepted stricter requirements upgrading them to a Class I status. Due to this new law, the Bristol Public Library enhanced its facility and capabilities in order to be described as a Class I library.

After Lena Oberholzer retired in 1959, Emily Hermance, Barbara Stowers, Peg Kramer, and Jean Ann Young served as librarians. These librarians saw the library through a building addition, they created “Children’s Story hours,” and provided many services for the community.

As the electronic age dawned, it became clear that a larger facility was needed. In January of 1984, the current building opened its doors for patrons.

Mission Statement

Today, the mission of the Bristol Public Library remains:

“…to provide public library service supported by public funds, and operated for the benefit and use of individuals and groups of all ages in the community.

…to provide a learning atmosphere in which patrons have the opportunity to explore their individual values and goals.”

Current patrons of the Bristol Public Library have access to over 41,000 volumes, computers, wireless internet, audiobooks, as well as VHS and DVD materials. The library also has a meeting room for residents in the Washington Township community. The Bristol Banner microfilm is also housed in the library.

Come in and stop by for a visit. The Bristol Public Library staff would love to answer any of your questions!