Join the Friends and help our community. You will find the membership application on the next page.
The Friends welcome anyone interested in helping FOBL support the Bear Library. We would love to have you attend our meetings and share your ideas!
The Friends meetings are held in the library at 4-6 p.m. Meeting dates for 2023 are:
The history of the Friends of the Bear Library is entwined with the history of the Bear Library itself, and actually precedes the Bear Library. In 1991, several residents of the Bear area met in the home of Bill and Connie Georgov to discuss establishing a library in the fast growing community along the U.S. Route 40 corridor. That year, under the leadership of Beverly Wright the Friends of the Bear Library Association (FOBL) established, incorporated and received 501(c)3 federal tax-exempt status. Delle Donne Associates offered several acres of land on the northeast corner of the Delaware Route 7 and U.S. 40 intersection.
At the time, the residents and businesses in the Bear/Glasgow/Kirkwood/Christiana area did not have a truly local and reasonably accessible library. The closest libraries were in Newark, New Castle, and a very small library in Delaware City. Farm fields continued to sprout housing and commercial developments. The members of FOBL continued to meet in private homes, church meeting rooms, and conference rooms at the Glasgow Medical Center.
The Bear area residents worked with officials of the State of Delaware to increase the amount of funding for construction of libraries. They worked with New Castle County to fund and equip libraries in an expanding NCC Library System. They held donation drives, book sales, plant sales, and bake sales to raise money and promote awareness of the effort to establish the Bear Library.
Eventually, a Friends of the Bear Library Capital Campaign Committee was formed under the leadership of Thomas Whittington and Carol Harrington. Other members of the committee were Jean Runge, Donna Draper, and Ted Mealey. The committee contacted foundations, residents and businesses in the effort to generate the funds needed to build and furnish the library.
Finally, it became apparent that the lack of infrastructure at the offered site on the northeast corner of the intersection made it terribly costly to build at that location so a search began to find a more suitable site. Mr. Ernest Delle Donne then offered four acres at the edge of Governors Square Shopping Center. His donation was accepted and building plans began.
The architectural firm, Design Associates, designed the building as a carousel since the library would serve mostly young families with children. It would include a large children's area and community rooms because there was limited space in the area for community and civic groups to meet. The library would become a central focus of this formerly rural area.
Building began in early 1997 under the direction of Wohlsen Associates. The Capital Campaign Committee was successful in raising the one third of the amount of money needed to build and equip the $5.7 million facility. The library was opened in late December 1997. The Bear Library quickly became the most heavily used library in the state. Because the heavy demand for meeting space was obvious, FOBL advocated for an additional community/meeting room. Stack space was soon converted into a second community room. The Friends established an endowment fund at the Delaware Community Foundation to help provide support for the Bear Library in the future.
By the early 2010's, the library's heavy usage caused NCCo officials to consider renovating the interior of the library. Usage studies indicated increased demand for additional community meeting space, a dedicated children's program space, and much larger public computer space. Once again, the Friends of the Bear Library joined in to provide the money needed from the private sector to fund the renovation of the library.
In 2013 the Bear Library reopened to much acclaim. It now boasts four community/meeting rooms, 52 public computers, an enlarged children's area with a dedicated programming area, a computer/training lab, and state of the art audio-visual facilities. Staff areas were redesigned with functionality in mind. The Friends of the Bear Library continues to actively support the Bear Library, providing funds for programs for adults and children, enriching the library with landscaping and additional furnishings and materials, and by advocating for our library.
Lyman Whitaker Kinetic Wind Sculpture purchased in 2018 by The Friends of the Bear Library. A famous artist, Mr. Whitaker's sculptures can be seen throughout the world in horticultural gardens, corporate office sites, royal gardens, and university campuses. Mr. Whitaker resides in and creates at his studio located in Utah. The Friends of the Bear Library gratefully thank EDIS Company for installing the sculptures.
Constance S. Malin
Beverly S. Wright
Carol Brown Harrington