Before there was the library...
There was the Friends of the EGR Library!
In 1958, a small group of East Grand Rapids residents organized the Friends of the EGR Library and mounted a campaign to bring the first library to our East Grand Rapids community. A door-to-door campaign was held that year and the newly formed Friends had 500 members! The first Kent County Library System branch in EGR opened in February 1959 in what is now Gaslight Village - in the Coldwell Banker Real Estate building next to Starbucks. In 1960 it moved across the street into what is now the H&R Block storefront. In late summer 1969 the library moved to its current location and was only upstairs and 5,500 square feet. In 1987 the Friends donated $90,000 to help expand the library to two floors and enlarge it to 11,000 square feet. In 2005 the Friends gave $100,000 to renovate and expand the library to approximately 28,000 sq feet. The Friends are the true backbone behind the library and its major fundraising group.
From those roots, the Friends have continued to work through the decades to bring new and innovative resources and experiences to enrich our community through the library. With donations from members like you and dollars raised through our various fundraising events, we look to fund “the extras” above and beyond the library's taxpayer-funded budget by supporting things like adult and children programming; materials and supplies for community projects; aesthetic and structural improvements making the EGR Library an even more enjoyable place to visit.
The Friends of the EGR Library invite you to explore this website to learn more about this history-rich organization and what you can do to help.