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Mission and History of the Library



Line drawing of the library

Mission Statement
It is the mission of the Bloomfield Public Library to provide and promote open and equal access to the resources and services of the library in order to meet the informational, educational, and cultural needs of the community. The library seeks to encourage reading and the use of current technology for life-long learning and the enhancement of the individual's quality of life.

History
The Bloomfield Public Library has been serving the community for over seventy years. It all began in 1902, when James Newbegin Jarvie, a prominent Bloomfield businessman, founded the Jarvie Memorial Library at Westminster Presbyterian Church, in memory of his parents. In 1923, he offered the library, it's collection and equipment to the town, along with $60,000. The library did a great deal of moving around until the Board of Trustees purchased the land at 90 Broad Street for $23,000. John F. Capen, a local architect, was commissioned to draw plans for the 17,000 square foot colonial brick building which finally opened to the public in March, 1927.

The library has undergone a great deal of renovation since then. By 1963, the need for more space had become obvious. The year began with intensive planning and a search for funds. Finally, on September 5, 1967, the newly built adult library was opened to the public by The main floor of the original building was re-designated as the Children's Library. The lower level became meeting room and staff areas. The meeting room became a theatre in 1969 and continues to be the site of many musical programs, films, lectures and children's programs sponsored by the library and other groups.

The library has always been recognized for its staff, whose friendly and cooperative spirit has been the hallmark of its dedicated service to the people of Bloomfield. Adapted from the flier for the Bloomfield Public Library's 70th Anniversary Celebration.

Originally prepared by Ina M. Campbell in 1984, revised by John A. Sitnik in 1994.

From Books to Bytes: a History of the Friends of the Bloomfield Public Library
From the Spring 2004 issue of the Friends Newsletter:
Do you love Benjamin Franklin, the founder of the free library system? Are you a buff of all things Bloomfield? Do you want to preserve our town's entrance to the information superhighway? If so, read on!

The Friends of the Bloomfield Public Library has had and continues to have a significant impact on the library. Our efforts began by letting our "fingers do the walking" through the Friends' files. Here we learned not only that the Friends of the Bloomfield Public Library was established in 1934, the idea of Mrs. Helen Scherff Taylor, the library's then Public Relations Director, but also we learned that the FOL was the first Friends of the Library Association established in a public library in the East.

It was Mrs. Scherff Taylor's desire "to provide more library service to the community through the involvement of keenly interested people" which motivated her to present her idea to the Bloomfield Chapter of the American Association of University Women as well as the Woman's Club of Bloomfield. Her enthusiasm and determination paid off. Both organizations agreed to become the original sponsors of a newly formed association, the "Friends of the Bloomfield Public Library."

The first meeting of the FOL was held in the organization's founding year: 1934. Subsequently, additional organizations became sponsors who provided the funds necessary to cover the expenses of the meetings. Dues were given to the library to supplement its budget in providing and improving its facilities and services to the community.

The loosely organized FOL of 1934 grew with each ensuing year - providing funds for "music, technical, art, children's reference books, etc." In 1928, the Friends grew to the point where it became necessary to adopt a Constitution and regularly elect officers.

Are you one of Mrs. Scherff Taylor's "Keenly interested people who could inspire more library service to the community"? Are you one of those special people around whom the concept of FOL was built and has flourished? If your answer is "yes," please renew your membership! If you are that "keenly interested person," and are not a member, please become a member now! Contact FOL, Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad Street, Bloomfield, NJ 07003.

Nora Ann Neary
Newsletter Editor

Learn more about the Friends of the Bloomfield Public Library.



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