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.
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
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
Learn more about the Friends of the Bloomfield