The Chester Library was formally opened on Labor Day, September 4, 1911, in rented quarters ($4.00 per month) above a metal shoe-support factory on the corner of Main and Warren Streets. Though there was initial hope of having the Library open one afternoon and two evenings a week, the Library was open only on Saturdays, from 2:30-5:30 and 7:00-9:00 PM. In 1954 an additional evening was added. Hours were added gradually through the ’60′s, ’70′s and ’80′s, to bring Library service to its present total of 68 hours per week.
The Library moved from one rented place to another over the years. In 1922, it moved from the factory to the Drake house at what is today 127 Main Street. In 1957, it moved into the rear of 107 Main Street (corner of Hillside Avenue). For many years the post office was located in the front of this building. In 1964, the library moved again, this time into a Quonset hut adjacent to the Borough Municipal building, where it stayed until the present building was occupied in 1981.
In 2004 major renovations were completed which increased the library’s size to its current configuration. The Children’s Room was moved to the new section of the building. The Larison Program room was added, giving the library and the community a much needed public meeting room. The Larison Room, as well as 2 group study rooms are available to local non-profit groups. These rooms may be reserved with a Chester Library card either by calling the Library or by clicking on the Reserve A Meeting Room link in the Quick Links box.
Guaranteed funding for the Library did not come until the voters approved a referendum in 1975 making the Library “municipal.” Early records indicate that the Library began with an income of $165, and during the period of 1930-1947 operated on approximately $650 per year. The 2012 budget is $827,724.
In August 2011 the Library celebrated its centennial with an open house featuring speakers, music, performances and food. More than 300 residents participated in the day of celebration.
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