“This small town of some 1000 population has a library well started, with the right spirit back of it and good prospects for its future growth and usefulness.”—Pennsylvania Library Notes, December, 1913.
On March 11, 1908, a case of fifty books was received from the Pennsylvania state library for the purpose of creating a travelling library in the towns of New Hope and Solebury. The books were housed in Claude Middleton’s drug store on Main Street and were available for circulation two evenings a week.
The community quickly embraced the establishment of a town library and donated time, books and financial support to help it grow. On April 2, 1918, the Free Library of New Hope and Solebury was officially incorporated.
Over the next 25 years, the Library quickly grew from two shelves in the drug store, to a dedicated building at the old Salt House. Finally in 1974, the Library moved to is present location on Ferry Street. The former New Hope Methodist Episcopal Church was originally built in 1876 as the New Hope Presbyterian Church. However its foundations go back to colonial times as a patriotic fort to protect General George Washington from British attack prior to the Battle of Trenton. In 1950 an extension was added to the building to provide bathrooms, a Sunday School room and a rector’s office.
Over the years, the Library has established itself as a center of the community from participating as a War Services Library during the first and second World Wars, to creating classroom libraries for numerous schoolhouses throughout Bucks County. Its newly refurbished historic building is filled with local artwork and modern amenities, yet remains the heart and soul of the community.
In 2015, The Free Library temporarily moved to another church property (St. Martin of Tours) to accomodate an extensive renovation of the historic building. It reopened March 14, 2016 with new HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems and a new floorplan that gives the public more areas to read, meet and work.
We are proud that our tradition of service continues through our civic nature, our educational programs and our collection. Please explore the Library, get a card and enjoy our many services as we open our doors to a new century.