Delmar Public Library held a dedication event at the last Wednesday in Delmar. On that date (April 24) in 1940, the Delmar Public Library was dedicated to the community for the first time, under the leadership of Board President Mrs. Samuel Ellis. Mrs. Ellis was also a member of the Delmar New Century Club, a group of women chiefly responsible for bringing library services to Delmar.
The club enlisted local community support for the project and gained the approval from the Delaware State Library Commission. The Delmar Public Library was formally organized with its first Board of Trustees and was dedicated on April 24, 1940. The first library site was a tiny room, only 12 feet by 15 feet, and was located in the Marvel Building on Grove Street.
Although traveling library collections had been available in Delmar since 1916, the dedication in 1940 established a permanent location for the library. The Grove Street location would serve as the home of Delmar Public Library for many years, until a move to the St. Stephens’ United Methodist Church Community Hall.
In 1970, when St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church opened its community center building at 105 East State Street, the library moved into more spacious quarters. The library claimed 1,836 square feet of space and seating for 27 patrons. The library also increased its hours of service to 46 hours per week.
In 1980, the Library Board of Commissioners, under the leadership of Mrs. Jean Ellis, began planning for a permanent location at the corner of Bi-State Boulevard and Grove Street. An addition was added in 1990.
The facility was built as a memorial to the late Delmar resident, Lyndall C. Hayman, his wife, Virginia, and his son Robert. Mr. Hayman’s will stipulated that a trust fund be established to provide income for the local library. It was his fondest hope that a library building would eventually be constructed.
In 2006 and 2007, the Delaware Division of Libraries ordered two reports by consultants Himmel and Wilson, “Space Needs Assessment” and “A Building Program” for the Delmar Public Library. Both reports pointed to the critical need for additional space to adequately serve the community and also rightly pointed to the economic reality of the small community: Building a library is not a step to be taken lightly. The people of Delmar area will be living with the decision that is made in regard to the Library for decades to come.
In an effort to address increased demand for programs and services, the Library’s Commissioners proceeded with an expansion and renovation project to add 10,000 square feet to the existing building. The architectural firm, Becker Morgan Inc., was selected. With local fundraising underway, additional project funding was also secured with NCALL and USDA Community Facilities funding. In 2017, the Library signed Richard Y. Johnson and Son for construction of the Library.
In December 2018, the Delmar Public Library opened its doors to excited patrons who had waited patiently for four years for its new community facility.