Since the opening of the East Grand Rapids Library in 1959 the Friends have been onboard to support the library through programming, book sales, volunteering and general support.
Enjoy this photo trip through time!
Through the Years
The first location of the EGR Library, 2168 Wealthy, SE.
February 28, 1959 - 1960
East Grand Rapids Library, a new branch of the Kent County Library System, opens its doors!
Our first librarian was Betty Garver, Kent County Library System. She was assisted by one page that shelved books and helped at the circulation desk.
The new library was located at 2168 Wealthy Street, SE. This site was originally a private home. Since 1960 has housed the following businesses: The Bagpiper, Molesta Real Estate and Coldwell Realtors.
The library was all of 700 square feet!
The initial collection of books consisted of 1,700 Kent County Library books a loan of 1,100 books from the Michigan State Library in Lansing and books purchased by the Friends of the East Grand Rapids Library.
Library hours were 1:30 to 6pm and 6:30 to 9pm Wednesday and Friday and from 10:30am to 12:30pm and 1:30 to 5:30pm Saturday.
Books and staff are supplied by the Kent County Library System, paid through county revenues. The city of EGR was responsible for maintaining the building and its contents. The city also paid into a County library fund.
The Library expands to two floors, January - June 1987
11,000 square feet
in 1986 LSCA Title II Construction grants were applied for and awarded.
Library use deems the need for expansion to the lower level. Circulation has increased 65% since 1980.
July 9, 1986 the Friends of the East Grand Rapids Library Capital Campaign Gets Underway for Library Expansion. The Friends pledge to raise $150,000. Of that total, $90,000 will go towards furnishings, $30,000 for equipment and $30,000 for an endowment fund. They mount a public campaign…telephone, media and distributed printed informational materials.
1960 - 1969
2154 Wealthy Street SE
More space is needed! The library relocates across the street to a space in the Ramona Shopping Center. This is where H&R Block is currently located in the D&W shopping center.
The library now had 1,200 square feet of floor space and was leased on a month-to-month basis. The library serves mainly as a circulating library.
Approximately 5,000 people are registered library users!
. . .Circulation is about 5,000 books per month.
. . .The library is open twenty-three hours a week.
Librarians at this location: Betty Garver (1959-1962), Eunice VanderVeen (1962-64), Dottie Doten (1965-68) and Sally Godin arrives in 1968 to help plan and move our library to its lake location.
746 Lakeside Drive SE
In June 1969 the new library opens!
The library is housed on the upper level only and consists of 5,500 square feet of library space. Circulation increased 43% the first month!
More space, more services provided; including programs for children and adults.
Sally Godin is head librarian and Mrs. George Branston, assistant librarian.
New attractions include: copy machine, study carrels and an area for meetings .
The library is now open 57 hours per week to meet increased demand. By the September 21, 1969 East Grand Rapids New Municipal Complex Open House, the collection had grown to 16,204 books. The lower portion of the library is unfinished, with sand for the floor. It was suggested by city manager Fred Tholen that teenagers use the place for dances, clubs or a teen center.
The EGR Library Expands and Renovates!
May 2005 - 2006
Temporary location, 644 Lovett SE
It took a village and several times to the voting booth, but a East Grand Rapids Community Complex expansion and renovation was voted on favorably:
June 14, 2004 Ballot Proposals
“East Grand Rapids voters will face four tax questions on the June 14 ballot, one for public schools' recreation programs and three for expansion of the library and City Hall. If all were approved, voters would pay 2.21 mills in additional property tax -- about $221 a year for an owner of a house with a market value of $200,000.
City Proposal 1 would levy .64 mills for 30 years -- $64 a year for the owner of a $200,000 home. The proposal would create a complex that would combine the library with the now separately housed recreation department and city government. Nearly 35 percent of the total square footage in the new building would be devoted to shared space.
Proposals 2 and 3 for the community center would levy .095 mills and .076 mills respectively. Together, they would cost the owner of a $200,000 home $17 a year for 30 years. Proposal 2 would pay for shoreline boardwalks and docks as well as new streetlights and other adornments. Proposal 3 would pay for an additional 4,000 square feet of library space and a local history room.”
Source Citation: "East GR tax proposals; Only one of four millage requests deserves support.(Editorial)(Editorial)." The Grand Rapids Press (Grand Rapids, MI) (June 2, 2004): A10. Grand Rapids Press. Thomson Gale. Kent District Library. 11 Nov. 2006
June 14, 2004
Voters Support 4 Proposals Which Allows $9.5 Million Dollar Renovation and Expansion of the Library and City Hall.
Library Circulation Hits 367,217 in 2004!
January 15, 2005
Friends of the East Grand Rapids Library present a check to the City Commission for $100,000 for the new library.
The new library and city complex began construction in Completion date is set for late 2006.
Library Moves to a Temporary Location During Expansion and Renovation. Approximately 2,000 square feet of popular space!
2005 - 2006
This was a true expansion, not a tear-down. The foundation and walls of the old library, municipal and water tank (under Wege Plaza) were kept and added onto. The library and municipal buildings were connected. The original 1987 library elevator was kept. Parks & Rec moved into 1/2 of the ginormous water tank space and Public Safety took the other half.
Looking west at the main parking lot