Library History

The History of the Sussex County Library System

Information taken from 20 Years - Book Affairs:  Sussex County Library 1942-1962

Sussex County's first library was on wheels.  In 1942 the County purchased this second-hand bookmobile.  Seen here is the County's first librarian, Dorothy E. Henry.  She traveled 31,804 miles by the end of 1946.  Dorothy Henry designed, planned and supervised the construction of the bookmobile seen above and in the next three pictures.  It was built on a 3/4 ton Dodge and was an "outside" bookmobile holding 1,200 books.

In 1955 a walk-in red and white Gertenslager bookmobile holding 1,800 books was purchased.  Its first stop was at Selected Risks Insurance Company.

The first permanent location for a Sussex County Library was in the basement of the Hall of Records in Newton.  After a brief stay at this location, the library was moved to the basement of the Courthouse.  As the Library and the Courthouse both became too crowded, the Freeholders searched for an appropriate location, resulting in the building of the Headquarters in Frankford in 1957 (seen above).  This building has seen many additions and still serves as the Sussex County Library System Headquarters.

Library patrons commonly came and went via horseback.

Both the Dorothy Henry Branch and Louise Childs Branch were constructed and dedicated in 1981.

As part of the dedication of the Louise Branch Library, a portrait was presented and the dedication ceremony pamphlet  stated that the Louise Childs Branch Library was named "in memory of E. Louise Childs  who faithfully served the county for twenty-one years as Clerk of the Board of Chosen Freeholders."