Bennett County Library, Martin's diamond in the rough

By Deb Hendrickson

"A book is a dream you hold in your hands." – Neil Gaiman

Martin has its very own diamond in the rough. It is known as the Bennett County Library.

“We (patrons of the library) love the library. It is a wonderful place for fellowship, good books, knowledge and computer access,” Janice Whittle said.

The library is home to 27,000 volumes of books covering a wide range of topics, including large print. If you prefer to listen to a book instead of read, there is a large audio section at the library which has approximately 1,000 books on tape or CD. Also, SD Titles to Go enables readers to go online to choose books to read on almost any device. Library aides can assist people getting started.

The children’s book section contains a variety of beautifully illustrated literary classics for ages preschool to junior high. Children are welcome to check the books out, sit at the tables or on the stools in the round area to read.

A small variety of magazines and newspapers are available but cannot be checked out and usually there is a jig-saw puzzle project in progress for anyone wanting to test their skill.

There are five computer stations along one wall, as well as an independent computer station right inside the front door. Everyone is welcome to use the computers to access internet service, do research or any word processing project. 

The idea of opening a public library in Bennett County was initiated by the B.E.O. (Benefit Each Other) Club as early as the 1930’s. On July 7, 1950, a petition was presented to the board of county commissioners and a library board was appointed.

An open house for the new library, located in a portion of the County Highway maintenance department building on the northwest corner of the courthouse yard, was held on November 15, 1951. For the next 20 years, the library was housed at various locations throughout Martin but has been at its present location at 101 West Main Street for approximately the last 19 years.

Belinda Ready is the Bennett County Librarian. Bev Heath, Bonnie Risse and Tracy Fisher are Librarian paraprofessionals.

You will find the library to be very user-friendly. In order to check out books, your name is entered into the computer system and you are issued a permanent number. If you’d like to check out a book, all you need do is state your name. Books can be checked out for two weeks and renewed if no one else has requested that volume. As a courtesy, there are no overdue fees charged and the staff is always thankful when the books eventually make their way back to the library. An outdoor drop box makes it convenient to return books if you are unable to drop them off during normal working hours.

Stop by, browse around, and please feel free to check out anything that piques your interest. Happy reading.

Bennett County Library

Winter Hours:

Mon., Tues., Thurs. -

10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Wed. - 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Fri. - Noon - 5 p.m.

502 Second Avenue, Martin, SD 57551 • 605-685-6866 •