Bruun Memorial Library began in 1884, when Mrs. Lydia Bruun donated $2,000 for books and equipment plus about 200 books and the use of a room upstairs in a building she owned. On February 23 of that year, a library association was formed. The library was opened on May 16, with Mrs. Olive Kline as the first librarian.
On April 17, 1886, Mrs. Bruun deeded the building to the city for $1 with the following conditions: $100 per year to be spent for good and appropriate current reading matter for the free reading room; $50 per year to be spent for good and suitable books; $10 per year to be spent for cards or tickets to be distributed among the poor of the city.
In 1956 a big project was undertaken. The library was remodeled, with new shelves, wall covering, and ceiling. The library commission helped classify the books, and a ton of old books and periodicals were discarded.
When the business that occupied the downstairs closed in 1968, the library moved to the street floor. The walls were paneled, new carpeting was laid, a number of new shelves were built, and others were refurbished. This change provided better accessibility, especially for senior citizens and the handicapped.
In September 1987 the building next to the library was purchased, with the intent of expanding the library to double its original size. Fund raising began to match a grant of $23,050 from the Nebraska Library Commission. Construction began in April 1988, with the newly reconstructed library being dedicated December 8, 1988.
The library has continued to improve. In May 1997 computers and a program were purchased to automate the library catalog and circulation. Checkout with the new system began in June 1998, with cataloging virtually finished in February 1999. To further serve their patrons, public Internet access was begun in December 1998, with a new Internet computer purchased in 2001.
Bruun Memorial Library is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media