By KENNY WALTER
LONG BRANCH — The Long Branch Free Public Library is celebrating its 100th birthday with several events planned, culminating in a celebration gala this November.
“We are having different programs throughout the year, and our actual centennial will be in November,” Long Branch Free Public Library Director Tonya Garcia said. “That is when we will have the centennial gala at McLoone’s.”
The Long Branch Free Public Library dates to the late 19th and early 20th centuries when businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie embarked on a plan that paved the way for more than 2,500 free public libraries to be constructed worldwide.
The story begins with the founding of the East Long Branch Reading Room and Library Association in 1878.
The library was officially incorporated Dec. 6, 1916, and a $30,000 Carnegie library grant was approved Feb. 3, 1917. The library officially opened Nov. 16, 1920 at 328 Broadway.
The yearlong celebration kicked off in January with a display on Carnegie libraries.
The library also hosted a birthday party on Aug. 23 at the main branch and Aug. 24 at the Elberon branch as part of the celebration.
The library will also offer a historic trolley ride throughout Long Branch on Sept. 25.
“In September, we are going to do a historic trolley ride throughout Long Branch as a partnership with the Long Branch Historical Association,” Garcia said. “We are going to be visiting various historical places throughout Long Branch, so you will be able to take the trolley ride through.
“It is going to start here at the library, and it is going to the Seven President’s Museum and other places.”
Another effort by the library is each month they will be collecting a different item for a charitable organization. Garcia said in August library staff is charged with collecting 100 lip balms for soldiers overseas.
For more information about the library, visit www.longbranchlib.org.