Belmont Hills History
In February of 1935, three women from Belmont Hills opened a library in St. Andrews Chapel, a mission of St. Asaph’s Church. Under the auspices of the Girls Friendly Club, and named West Manayunk Free Library, this branch of the Bala Cynwyd Library soon outgrew its one room in the Mission and moved to the old Family Service Building, near the Belmont Bridge.
In 1941, the Library became independent of Bala Cynwyd Library and incorporated, taking the name Bird Memorial Library, in memory of a rector’s wife, Mrs. Benjamin Newcomer Bird. Within a year, the Bird Library moved from the bridge location to a house in Belmont Hills on Ashland Avenue.
As the years passed, both circulation and membership of the library grew, and the need for more space became increasingly apparent. In 1969, the brand new Belmont Hills Library at the present location was opened and dedicated. It was paid for by contributions from the community, allocations of funds by the Board of Commissioners of Lower Merion Township, and by a grant through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania under the “Library Services and Construction Act.”
Today the Township continues to appropriate funds to cover personnel, operating costs, and building improvements. The Belmont Hills Library still depends upon the contributions of its users and other interested persons to pay for new books, materials, as well as furnishings and miscellaneous expenses. The library is a community gathering place with strong loyalties.