Dearborn, MI 48124
It's been more than 75 years since the women of the Garden Club first considered the idea of establishing a public library in Dearborn. Their amazing foresight is still apparent in the building that is now the Bryant Branch Library on Michigan Avenue at the corner of Mason.
That dignified building was the first public library to be built in Dearborn. The grand opening was in November of 1924. It was the main library for 45 years. It became a branch library in 1970, first as the Mason Branch. In 1977, the library was renamed the Bryant Branch, in honor of Mrs. Katharine Wright Bryant. She was one of the women who first developed the plan and campaign to build a public library in Dearborn. As a member of the Garden Club with her sister-in-law, Clara Ford (Mrs. Henry Ford), she worked hard to help establish this new library service for Dearborn citizens. She then went on to serve on the Dearborn Library Commission for 37 years.
The beauty of the past is still visible in the building she helped plan. From the outside, the simplicity and grace of its design attract the visitor. The words "PUBLIC LIBRARY" at the top of the building tell you everything you need to know about the building's purpose, but they do not prepare you for the wonders inside the building.
The front entrance has a double stairway leading up to the library. There is a mural on each wall next to the stairs. The murals are classical in their depiction of the human search for and use of knowledge.
There are two comfortable alcoves in the building. Each one has a fireplace, non-working of course. The fireplaces are decorated with Pewabic tiles. One has illustrations from "The Baby's Opera" and the other has a design inspired by Persian antiquities. These tiles have a unique glaze and the formula has been lost, so their iridescent beauty cannot be reproduced.
Don't think that the building is an out-of-date monument. The design features of the past are very enjoyable, but the design has kept up with modern technological developments. Bar codes are scanned there, videos and books-on-tape are available, and you can find reference sources on CD-ROM.
The women of the Garden Club knew what they were doing in the 1920's when they planned a public library in Dearborn. They worked hard along with the residents and the officials of the village to build it, and they wouldn't be at all surprised to see what a busy building Bryant Library is today.
Driving directions to Bryant Branch Library