The Story of Brockway Memorial Library

The Land and its Building

In 1943, George A. Brockway, a winter resident hailing from Cortland, New York and manufacturer of Brockway Trucks, bestowed a gift of $50,000 to be used for the building of a local library in Miami Shores. The land upon which the Library was built, was donated by Bessemer Properties, under the direction of Roy H. Hawkins. The Library was designed and built by local talent: Miami Shores residents, Edwin T. Reeder, Architect; C.F. Wheeler, Builder; and Haygood Lasseter, Interior Designer. When the Library was completed in 1949, Roy McKenzie, Miami Shores Mayor at the time, lauded the building as an outstanding example of “modern Florida architecture.”

Over the years, in response to the demands of a growing community and an ever expanding collection, additions to the building were made in 1955, 1960, 1984, and in 2002, which together tripled the dimension of the Children’s Room, workrooms and stacks, as well as created a Media Center, meeting room, and space for the Miami Shores Archives. Another expansion was completed in 2023, which created an additional 1,200 sq. ft. of programming space on the north side of the building, adjacent to the Children’s Room.   The project included a new office for the Youth Services Department and a new family restroom.

The Collection

The Library’s first annual report, dated June 1, 1949, shows that the initial collection consisted of 4,182 volumes, composed of books donated by residents and civic organizations. In 1953, upon Brockway’s death, 1,100 additional volumes were donated from his estate. Today, the collection holds more than 70,000 volumes, including those in digital format.

The People

In 1949, the Library served 814 card holders. It operated under the guidance of a Board of Trustees, composed of the following members: Edna Brockway, C. Franklin Wheeler, Mrs. Edwin T. Reeder, Mrs. William H. Walker and Mrs. Haygood Lasseter. Helen O’Connell Borsch was the Library’s first librarian who remained at Brockway Library until 1958, when Geraldine Grundy took her place until 1975. It was then that Elizabeth Esper, who had started her career at Brockway as a library page, assumed the directorship. Ms. Esper served as director for 45 years until she retired in 2015. In January of that same year, Brockway’s Adult Services Librarian, Michelle Brown, assumed the role. The Library’s first Children’s Librarian to hold a Master’s Degree was Ms. Anne Kelly, who served for over 30 years until her retirement in 2016. Today, the Library proudly serves more than 7,000 cardholders and welcomes close to 100 visitors daily.

General Information
Phone Numbers
Emergencies: Dial 911
10021 Northeast 2nd Avenue,
Miami Shores,

Monday, Tuesday & Thursday
9:00am - 8:00pm
Wednesday & Friday
9:00am - 6:00pm
9:00am - 3:00pm

Michelle Brown,
Library Director