Established in 1989 as a collaborative public-private partnership with the city of Newport Beach, California, the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation raised 2.2 million in private funds with grassroots efforts, demonstrating widespread community support for a new Central Library. In July 1994, the vision for a new Central Library was realized.
Over the past decade, the Foundation has contributed more than seven million dollars to fund programs, technologies, and services for the 1.2 million people who use our four library branches annually.
The history of the Newport Beach Public Library dates back to 1920 when the first public library was established in Balboa with a collection of 1,100 books. The original Corona del Mar Branch opened in 1947 and was replaced by the current Branch in 1959. Mariners Branch followed in 1963 and the Newport Center Branch opened in 1980.
In 1989, largely due to the determination and will of individuals, a vision of great magnitude began to form. It was under the remarkable leadership of Elizabeth and John Stahr, along with the dedicated support of the Board of Library Trustees, that the raising of funds and awareness began, and the City Council authorized the building of a new Central Library.
On July 10, 1994, the Central Library opened, an $8.2 million state-of-the-art facility designed by the team of Simon Martin-Vegue Winkelstein Moris, San Francisco, in association with James L. Pirdy, Newport Beach. In May 2013, the public celebrated a library expansion of 17,000 square feet as part of the Newport Beach Civic Center and Park project, bringing total space in the Central Library to 71,000 square feet.
Each year more than 1.2 million people walk through the impressive entryway as well as the branches. The circulation of materials system-wide is 1.7 million annually.
Since 2009, the Library Foundation has raised and contributed $6,892,596 to the Newport Beach Public Library system. The library’s budget from the City has only 7% of funds allocated to materials (items available for the public to use and check out); the Library Foundation annually supplements the materials budget with an average gift of $160,000 and $350,000 for educational programming.
Over the years the Library Foundation has made the following possible:
The Newport Beach Public Library brings more than books to the community. True to its mission, it has become the cultural, educational, and informational heart of Newport Beach.