The direct ancestor of our current Library Association was established. Funds to support and grow the Library came from donations and fundraising events including plays and pageants.
The Monmouth County Library (MCLS) was established in Freehold. The Allentown Public Library was one of the first seven branches.
1930s & 1940s
During the dark days of the Great Depression and World War II, library services in Allentown and Upper Freehold relied on MCLS “station” and then, a stop on the County Library’s Book Mobile monthly route.
The Library Association is revived. A group of dedicated volunteers, including several former librarians, re-established a permanent library in town. With support from donations and volunteers, including the Allentown Lions Club, they were able to rent the front parlor of 22 South Main Street.
The Allentown Public Library Association was incorporated. The library expanded, encompassing the entire first floor of 22 South Main Street over the next decade.
The Allentown Public Library Association acquired a permanent home for the Library. With funds from donations and two mortgages, the APLA bought the First Baptist Church that was badly damaged by a fire the year before. The Library moved into the attached former parsonage and Sunday School rooms, which were renovated by the Allentown Lions Club and volunteers.
The Library expanded into the renovated former Church. After twenty years of projects to upgrade and renovate the building, the Library then had space for a full-service library. Donations came from the annual appeal, several bequests, grants from the Monmouth County Historical Association and the New Jersey Historic Trust, and mortgages on the property.
An anonymous donor gave $50,000 to reduce the mortgage, providing the Association raised an equal $50,000 in two years. The Library embarked on a campaign to raise the funds through a series of cocktail parties, concerts and direct mail campaigns.
The Allentown Public Library Association paid off the last of the mortgages. Thanks to the generous support of our Western Monmouth communities, the Library was finally debt-free.
Check out Funded Projects for recent library developments.