The Dumont Library was begun during World War I through the organizational efforts of Miss Katherine McDonald and her Girl’s Patriotic League. This group of women accumulated and circulated approximately 150 volumes that were housed in the Bruno Building located on East Madison Avenue. Eventually, the Library moved to the Mossa Building on West Quackenbush Avenue, where League members, Mrs. Russell Krause and Mrs. G. B. Merrill, supervised the collection. With the Library now being open on a more regular schedule, one afternoon and one evening a week, circulation grew to 25 items per week!
The success of this venture was furthered by Felix Weil, who in 1918, with a group of 14 leading Dumont citizens, founded the Dumont Library Association. Each member contributed the hefty sum of $10 each to supplement the collection of books donated to the cause by the Girl’s Patriotic League. Of the monies collected, $50 was set aside specifically for children’s books. Through the efforts of Lovell J. Honiss, then Principal of Washington School, the steadily growing collection, was housed in a room within the school. Not long after that, the Mayor and Council appropriated $100.00 to move the collection to the upper floor of the Ferdon Building on East Quackenbush Avenue.
In 1925, a referendum vote of 688 to 191, established the Dumont Public Library. Mrs. H. B. Jenkins was appointed Librarian and the Library was open to the public three days a week. In 1926, the Library Trustees, seeking a more ideal location, rented three rooms in the Banta Homestead, the home of Sarah Dixon, an avid supporter of the Library. At her death in 1929, Sarah willed her home to the Borough for Library purposes and the Library was named The Dixon Homestead Library.
Mrs. Jenkins was succeeded by Miss Rouisa Frantz in 1932 and the Library continued to grow. A public referendum to expand the Library was defeated in 1941. Miss Millett succeeded Miss Frantz in 1953 and continued to press for expansion, emphasizing the need to create more room to accommodate the reading and research needs of the growing Dumont population. After a lengthy, but spirited political battle, money was appropriated in 1958 to construct a much needed children’s wing. A large area for parking was added in 1975.
Mrs. Elizabeth M. A. Stewart succeeded Miss Millett as Library Director in 1979, the same year in which a referendum for another addition to the Library was passed by an overwhelming vote of two to one. The Alfred W. Heath Wing was opened to the public in January, 1982 and formally dedicated on March 13, 1982.
When Mrs. Stewart was succeeded by Mrs. Carolyn M. Blowers in 2002, the Library’s collection of materials had grown to over 48,000 items and the average circulation was over 1,800 items per week.
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