Thursday, October 30, 2014

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HISTORY OF THE LIBRARY

 
TIMELINE
 

1878

A group of women in the community start the Red Bank Mutual Library Association with funds raised from private donors.  The library's first home is a building on the east side of Broad Street subsequently occupied for many years by Clayton and Magee.  A copy of the first catalogue, listing the 334-volume collection, is still available in the present Library.

 

1880

The Library is moved across the street to a millinery shop owned by Mr. S. B. Vandergrift, who also functioned as the librarian.

 

1882

A fire destroys most of the collection.  Funds are raised and the Library reopens as a "reading room" in the Childs Building on Broad Street.

 

1890

The Library is incorporated as the Red Bank Library Company.

 

1903

Andrew Carnegie, famous for endowing libraries, offers $10,000 to the Board for construction of a new building under the stipulation that the Borough supply a site and guarantee $1,000 annually for library maintenance.  The offer is refused.

 

1910

Overcrowding forces a move to the Weiss Building at 14 Monmouth Street.

 

1923

Residents vote to establish a free public library.  The Board turns over its assets to the town, which maintains the Library through the stock market crash of 1929 and the start of the Great Depression.

 

1932

Overcrowding again forces a move, to the Swift Building at 69 Monmouth Street.

 

1937

The sons of Sigmund Eisner, longtime Library benefactor, gift the Eisner residence at 84 West Front Street to the Borough of Red Bank for use as a library.  The doors open in its permanent home on April 15 of that year.

 

1939

After some years as a member of the Monmouth County Library System, the Red Bank Library withdraws its membership in the county system.  The Eisner family remains active in the development of the Library throughout the years, through Board memberships and donations.  The family's involvement has continued to the present day.

 

1965

Consideration is given to relocating the Library but in the end the decision is made to build an addition instead. 

 

1968

After being housed temporarily in Borough Hall, the Library reopens in a much expanded facility where it remains today.  The 1968 building is considered state of the art at the time.

 

2002

A Master Plan is completed to bring the library up to date, make it ADA-compliant, and restore rooms in the original family home to make them functional as part of the Library. 

 

2008

For several years the Library is engaged in planning, renovating, construction, and refurbishing projects thoughout the building.  During some of this period, operations are carried out on a reduced scale at a neighboring location.  Finally the Library reopens in early 2008, in its current configuration. 

 

2012

In April, the Library celebrates its 75th year as the Red Bank Public Library, and in the Eisner home.  Accompanying this celebration is the opening of the New Jersey Local History Room, dedicated to the preservation and study of Red Bank's local and regional history and cultural heritage.  Imporant features of the historical collections are objects and documents from the Eisner family, which are accessible to the public and often on exhibit, along with other items of local historical interest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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