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Montclair Public Library
Montclair Public Library logo.png
The Main Library in Montclair, New Jersey
Location Montclair, New Jersey, USA
Branches 2
Collection
Size 201,688
Access and use
Circulation 441,649
Population served 38,021
Members 30,413
Other information
Budget $3,418,043
Director Peter Coyl
Staff 36 FTE
Website montclairlibrary.org/
Montclair Public Library - Bellevue Avenue Branch
185 Bellevue Ave Montclair NJ-SWM-TLW- 2012-09-23.jpg
Location 185 Bellevue Avenue, Montclair, New Jersey
Area less than one acre
Built 1925
Architect F.A. Nelson
Architectural style Classical Revival, Institutional
MPS Montclair MRA
NRHP reference No. 86003076
Significant dates
Added to NRHP July 1, 1988

The Montclair Public Library is the public library for the township of Montclair located in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. It serves the residents from two buildings, the Main Library and the Bellevue Avenue Branch. It is a member of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System.

History

The Montclair Public Library had its beginnings with the founding of the Montclair Library Association, a 30-person subscription-based organization started by Israel Crane in 1869. On April 12, 1893 citizens of Montclair voted to establish a free public library. It was housed on the second floor of Dr. John J.H. Love's office at 16 Church Street. Mary F. Weeks served as the first Library Director, until 1897. An abandoned inn (called Munn Tavern) was purchased and became the new home for the Library in 1898.

A branch was established in 1899 in a rented room in the real estate office of John Mancini on Bellevue Avenue, near the train station.

The first building constructed solely for the library was completed in 1904 with $40,000 from the Carnegie Corporation. This building at 73 Church Street served as the main library for 50 years. This building is now part of the Unitarian Church, located at the intersection of Valley Road and Church Street.

In 1913, the Carnegie Corporation gave Montclair a second sum of $40,000 for the construction of the Bellevue Avenue Branch. Designed by the architect Francis A. Nelson, the branch opened on December 26, 1914.

In 1927, Margery Quigley became the sixth director of the library. Her book "Portrait of a Library", co-authored with William Marcus, the library board president, was revolutionary for changing the concept of public libraries from that of a place for quiet reading to that of a dynamic information center. It drew the attention of Director Hans Burger, who developed a film of the same name in 1940, which was distributed by the Museum of Modern Art and shown throughout the world under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State. In February 1942, International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) designed the first ever punch card data processing system for the library, also making the first public library in the United States to have a computerized circulation system.

In 1955 the Davella Mills Foundation donated the former site of Dr. Love's home, whose offices served as the first library, as the site for the new library building. They also contributed $250,000 toward the $800,000 construction cost. Designed by Ralph Walker of Voorhees, Walker, Foley and Smith was noted for its large glass windows and an absence of internal load bearing walls.

In 1996 the Main Library closed for an extensive renovation and expansion, reopening a year later. In 2002 it was named one of the top five libraries in the nation by Library Journal.

Directors

  • Mary F. Weeks (1893-1897)
  • S. Augusta Smith (1897-1909)
  • Katherine School (1909-1912)
  • Helen M. Hereling (1912-1915)
  • Alta M. Barker (1915-1927)
  • Margery C. Quigley (1927-1956)
  • Ruth P. Tubby (1956-1968)
  • Arthur Curley (1968-1975)
  • Betty J. Turock (1975-1977)
  • Phillip M. Clark (1978)
  • Ellen Foth (acting, December 1978-April 1979)
  • Michael L. Connell (1979-1999)
  • Carol W. Robinson (acting, 1999-2000)
  • Howard W. Curtis (2000-2001)
  • Cheryl M. McCoy (acting, 2001; director, 2002-2006)
  • Mary Lou Skillin (acting, 2006)
  • David Hinkley (2006–2016)
  • Peter Coyl (2017–present)
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