UPDATED 4/24 – Add photo of library at Museum, with sign, and one-page timeline
To celebrate Library Week this year, we have worked with the Hopewell Public Library to write up the fascinating history of the public library in Hopewell Borough. It’s a somewhat convoluted story of the ongoing determination and financial risk-taking of the townspeople, including four locations, multiple purchases of the same building, and combining and splitting with the Hopewell Museum.
The Hopewell Free Public Library opened in March 1914 in a small former Harness shop, but the strong response and resulting growth soon demonstrated the need for a larger dedicated space for both the library and an associated museum.
The galvanizing event was a Library Week celebration held in May 1921, highlighted by a historical pageant with over a hundred participants (with many of them descendants of the people portrayed). See the event program booklet, “Help Hopewell Honor Her Heroes” (PDF), for more on all the activities.
For all the fun historical details, see “History of the Hopewell Public Library” (PDF), part of the Explore Historic Hopewell series on this site. This includes a chronology of the library organizations and associated buildings, plus historic images (photos and extracts from maps) and selected quotes from associated sources. It also describes other approaches to libraries in town (some only tantalizing historic hints), and has a quick reference page showing the four homes of the Public Library in town.
This history is presented as it is now understood, based on Library and Museum archives and published sources. It will evolve over time, so we welcome comments and additional information.