Belmar Public Library

The following sections are reproduced from Grace Trott Roper‘s historical retrospective on how the Borough of Belmar came to be. The original booklet is © Copyright 1978 by Grace Trott Roper, Belmar, NJ and was printed by Hoffman Press, Belmar, NJ.

Duplication or reproduction is not permitted

On August 11, 1911 a group of ladies met for Tea and Cake at the home of Miss Louis Phillips. Miss Phillips and her friends were greatly interested in giving to young people the highly organized activities that could be obtained through a Public Library. With this goal in mind the ladies got together and opened the First Belmar Library on Sept. 23rd, 1911. It was located at 802 “F” Street and contained approximately 407 books.

During that year the library grew so rapidly that on May 1st, 1912 it had to be moved to 819 “F” street. As interest became greater it finally was decided that even this space was too small. A letter was sent to the Borough Council by the Library Board that stated:

“The phenomenal growth of the Library and the demands which have been made for books convinces us that we will not be able to adequately meet the needs of our citizens in the future”. We could well say the same today.

The present building stands on a lot that was purchased with funds raised by the Ladies of Belmar Library Association during 1913-14. They had Card Parties, Teas, Dances, Recitals and any number of money making projects. The cost of the lot was $2,500 and with the exception of filling it in from time to time, it did not cost The Boro of Belmar one cent, the adjacent lot belonged to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. They sold it to Mayor Gibbs who gave it to the library.

The Belmar Public Library as it stands now was opened to the public on Dec. 4th, 1914. The building is Colonial in style and Edward L. Titlon of N. Y. was the architect. He was considered one of the foremost specialists in efficient and economic designing.

The plans for the Library were thought to be so excellent by the Carnegie Corp. that they adopted them as the standard for future libraries all over the Country. $ 13,000 was given by the Carnegie Corp. of N. Y. for the erection of the building complete for occupancy.

The corner stone was laid July 31st, 1914 by the Grand Lodge of Mason‘s under the auspices of the Ocean Lodge of Belmar. It was a festive occasion.

The Carnegie Law required that:

  1. A Board of Trustees be appointed by the governing body.
  2. All given sums of money must be collected each year for the maintenance of the Library.