The Brockway Library Story
Brockway Memorial Library first opened its doors in February 1949. The library owes its existence to the generosity of George A. Brockway, after whom it was named. Mr. Brockway, an industrialist who wintered in Miami Beach, contributed the funds to build the library. The land on which the library stands was donated by Bessemer Properties, which was under the direction of Roy H. Hawkins, General Manager. Miami Shores professionals were secured for different aspects of the project, including: Edwin T. Reeder, architect; C.F. Wheeler, builder; and Haygood Lassetter, interior designer.
Upon the structure's completion, Roy McKenzie, Miami Shores' Mayor at the time, lauded the building as an outstanding example of "modern Florida architecture." The library operates under the guidance of a Board of Trustees. The original Board of Trustees included: Edna Brockway, C. Franklin Wheeler, Mrs. Edwin T. Reeder, Mrs. William H. Walker, and Mrs. Haygood Lasseter. Brockway Memorial Library’s first librarian was Helen O’Connell Borsch who served in that position until 1958. She was followed by Geraldine Grundy until 1975. Elizabeth Esper served as library director from 1975 until 2015, followed by Michelle Brown, who is the library's current director.
Over the years, in order to accommodate the library's ever expanding collection, additions to the building were made, notably in 1961 and an expansion of the Children's Library in 1984. In 1993, the library staff undertook the enormous task of automating its books and media collection. A software program was selected and installed; library staff and volunteers were then trained to barcode all items in the collection and enter their cataloging information into the new library database. The project took 2 years to complete.
In September 2002, a new Multi-Media Center was completed and opened to the public. The library board and staff successfully raised over $370,000.00 for the new multi-media center, which included $125,000 in grants from the State Library of Florida and a matching grant from North Dade Medical Foundation. The balance of $120,000 was donated by library patrons and friends. The new multi-media room addition has added 2,500 square feet to the existing library facility and contains dedicated spaces for videos and audio books, for reference materials, for the Miami Shores Archives, and for the Computer Center.
As from its inception, Brockway Memorial Library remains the Village's focal educational and cultural resource. The library continually challenges itself to anticipate and respond to the changing needs of its users. Its mission and goal are to acquire, organize and provide access and guidance to a wide variety of information and materials which help to fulfill the intellectual, educational and recreational needs of the people of Miami Shores.