Grundy Library: Opening doors, inspiring minds, connecting community
From a one-room World War I clapboard community building to an inspiring, 1,600 square-foot riverfront community treasure, the Grundy Family has left a library legacy which continues to enrich the lives of the residents of Bristol Borough and the surrounding communities.
One hundred thirty years ago, William and Mary Ridgway Grundy, parents of Joseph and Margaret, began what would become the family’s tradition of continuous support of a community library in Bristol. Although named the Bristol Free Library, this nineteenth-century repository was a subscription library, without a permanent location. In 1916, with the backing of Margaret Grundy and others, the Bristol Free Library opened its doors offering free services to the entire community. A large new collection of children’s books was added and regular story-reading programs were conducted. Miss Grundy’s (and her brother’s) commitment, both financially and personally, to the Bristol Free Library continued through 1965.
Upon the death of her brother, Senator Joseph R. Grundy, in 1961, the public became aware of the depth of the Grundy commitment to a free community library for Bristol. The Estate of Senator Grundy established The Grundy Foundation, and designated the Trustees of the Foundation to build and maintain a library for residents of Bristol and the surrounding area. He specifically ear-marked funds for a magnificent new library building that would house a collection of current materials and information resources, and employ a knowledgeable staff for the purpose of enriching, enhancing and empowering the lives of all who venture through her doors. This new library was to be named after his sister. It was dedicated on June 24, 1966.
It is nearly fifty years since the dedication of the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library. Throughout these years, there have been many changes. Yet, the Library remains a vital educational institution whose 21st century services extend well beyond her striking glass & concrete façade and tranquil riverfront location.
The Grundy Library provides a place as community commons, for quiet contemplation, for children afterschool, for assembly of individuals and groups; resources for accurate and timely information, for leisure reading, listening and viewing; informative and fun programs for the young and the young at heart; an extensive collection of local history and genealogy materials; access to information from in-house or from anywhere the Internet travels; and a knowledgeable and professional staff. The spirit of the Grundy Family's belief in the potential of a library to enrich lives, create opportunities, and enhance the common good continues to this day.