Our History

History  |  Massey  |  Main Street

 From Historic Places to New Spaces

November 11, 1918 

The first public library in Bentonville was located in the east room of the Massey Hotel space.  It closed due to insufficient funding.

1934 

The “Allen D. Clark Library” opened in the basement of the First Presbyterian Church.  Under the leadership of Mayor Sam Beasley, the library was incorporated as a Bentonville City Library. 

May 9, 1935 

The Library moved to the Council room at the back of City Hall, but quickly outgrew the location and moved to the east side of City Hall.

October 7, 1963 

The City purchased the Church of Christ building on SW A Street and relocated the Library to the space. 

1977 

Jim Walton and Mr. & Mrs. Sam Walton purchased the Historic Massey Hotel with plans to move the Library to the first floor, with office space on the remaining floors. 

 November 11, 1979 

Extensive renovations and restorations of the Massey Hotel allowed Bentonville Public Library to open its doors to the public.  This grand old space was the library’s home for nearly 27 years.  The Massey Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

2003:  A Public/Private Partnership

Despite the wonderful historical significance in the Massey Hotel location, the 8,500 square foot space was unable to meet our users’ growing and modern library needs.  The Bentonville community began efforts to fund and build a new facility. 

A public/private partnership, the Bentonville Library Foundation succeeded in the task of raising $7,000,000 for the $9,000,000 project.  Generosity from individuals, corporations and foundations joined the City of Bentonville’s $2,000,000 contribution toward construction of the Library. 

 October 30, 2006:  A Downtown Destination

When the new 38,000 square foot library opened at 405 South Main Street, Bentonville Public Library became a destination place in downtown Bentonville.  Facility amenities include vibrant children’s and teen spaces, community meeting rooms, genealogy research center and café.

Paying homage to our historical roots at the Massey, Bentonville Public Library’s modern facility features red brick, a grand veranda with signature columns and lovely fireplace area inside.  The space is more than bricks and mortar; it is the setting for imagination, community, education and superior quality of life.  

The facility project was succesfully led by Library Director, Cindy Suter. Architect firms Amirmoez Foster Hailey Johnson and Meyer Scherer & Rockcastle designed the building. Kinco was the general contractor. To learn more about our lovely library, visit Facility Amenities.  

To learn more about Bentonville Library successes, visit Library Reports. To find out how you can help our library, visit Support Us.

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