Beginnings            The history of Long Beach Public Library began in 1893 when the Reverend Sidney C. Kendell came to Long Beach as head of the First Congregational Church.   He found the nucleus of a library in the church, consisting of a small collection of miscellaneous books, belonging to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.  There was unmistakable evidence that none of the volumes had been opened for years.  Reverend Kendall called a meeting of a number of patriotic citizens, told them what he had found, and urged that steps be taken toward founding a public library and reading room.  From this first meeting the Long Beach Library Association was formally organized.             Local resident J.W. Birt agreed that starting a circulating library in Long Beach was a good thing; after all Los Angeles had just gotten one underway, and it looked like Pasadena would soon follow.  Birt helped spearhead a fundraising campaign and convinced the Long Beach Dramatic Club to hold the first library fund raiser on September 7, 1894.  They gathered at the town’s major meeting place, the Tabernacle, to perform the play, A Widow’s Heart.  There wasn’t any mention in the newspapers as to how much money they raised, but the idea of starting a library in Long Beach caught on.            Not to be outdone, the community of Alamitos Beach Townsite also decided to start a library.  On July 6, 1895, they held a hay ride and dime social to raise money.  Nearly 40 people turned out with wagons, carts, carriages and bicycles and rode to the Thornburg residence at 338 E. First Street, where Humphrey Taylor played piano, Miss Willard recited poetry, […]