Newport Beach Public Library

1000 Avocado Avenue
Newport Beach, CA 92660

949-717-3800

Our Mission:

To be the cultural, educational and informational heart of Newport Beach.

History of the Newport Beach Public Library

In 2004, the Newport Beach Public Library completed 84 years of service to the community. The current library customers can be grateful to the many groups of dedicated people who worked over the past century to make the library a reality in Newport Beach.

As early as 1909, there was community action to create a library. One of the first activities of the Ebell Club, when it was formed in 1909, was to procure a small traveling collection from the State Library, which the members made available to the community a few hours a week at their clubhouse. Later they developed a permanent collection of 300 books available each afternoon for a few hours.

Plans for a branch on the other side of the bay were also begun and eventually resulted in the Mariners Branch. The Friends of the Library were told to raise $15,000 to make that branch possible. The 5,000 square foot Mariners Branch building was finally dedicated in 1963.

In the 1970's, the trustees and the City commissioned several formal library studies and needs assessments, all calling for a main or central library for the growing city. But when the Newport Center Branch on San Clemente Drive was finally dedicated in 1980, it had only 10,000 square feet of public space, drastically reduced from the building originally designed to be a main library.

In the late 1980's, a new needs assessment and the companion library strategic plan were developed. Coordinated by the trustees and supported by community groups, the concept of a central library, with adequate reference resources to serve the entire City, was again revived. The Friends, the newly organized Booster Club, and the new Newport Beach Public Library Foundation all worked to make possible the new Central Library facility at 1000 Avocado Avenue, which replaced the Newport Center Branch. A sum of two million dollars was raised for the project, which cost a total of 10 million dollars for the building, the equipment, and furnishings. Architects Simon Martin-Vegue Winkelstein Moris of San Francisco, in Association with James L. Pirdy of Newport Beach, designed the building. Grand opening of the 54,000 square foot Central Library was celebrated in July of 1994.

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