The first mention of a library room, was in 1896. A reference was made about a church classroom in St. Peter’s-by-the-Sea Church that contained books available for residents to borrow when class was not in session. The books were moved to a building on Boone Street and then eventually to the Old Town Hall. The library in Narragansett was recognized during the summer of 1901 by the new Narragansett Town Council serving as President was Mr. S. B. Browning. In various editions of the Narragansett Times (June to September 1901) a Pier Library Report listed donations of book titles and the names of people who gave them. In 1938 the Narragansett Town Councils Budget Report shows $1,000 appropriated for the Narragansett Pier Free Library.
A Providence Journal article in August 31, 1953 stated that Mrs. Coggeshall, the librarian had reported that the Narragansett
Pier Free Library had accumulated 15,953 volumes to date and was in need of room to expand the library. Construction on library building began on the north side of Kingstown Road and it was completed at the end of the year – 1960. However, the headline from the Providence Journal edition dated February 8, 1961 read, “New Library Can’t be Used”. There was no more money to purchase shelving so the building remained closed and unused. The premise was conveyed by the Town of Narragansett to said Narragansett Free Library Association by deed dated April 11, 1961 and recorded in the Land Evidence Records of said Town in Book No 48, page, 181. It was not until June of that year did the library open to the public. On October 29, 1961 a dedication of the building was held.
The planning for a new addition to the library began in 1971-1972 with a program known as the Community Development Block Grant. Alterations and expansion began at the library in 1977 which included a handicapped ramp added to the entrance of the Library building. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on June 28, 1987 for the Genealogical Center that was added in the library.
The Town Council legally assembled and passed an ordinance on October 19, 1987 that established the Narragansett Public Library. The ordinance charged the Town Council with the election of the Board of Trustees, who became the legal guardians and custodians of the Library. In October of 1996 a ground breaking ceremony for another addition which included a computer center, reference area, a new front desk and a new tech room to handle book processing. There was also a “Quiet Room” dedicated to Elaine Loffredo, a flight attendant on TWA Flight 800 that crashed on July 17,1996. Her husband, Robert Loffredo donated funds for this room. The building was dedicated on June 15, 1997. The Narragansett Town Council voted to rename the library to the Maury Loontjens Memorial Library after the passing of Maury Loontjens, Jr. in October 2006.
This information was gained through interviews, reviews of local newspapers and other documents that were researched by Ruth Degnan Toupin and published in her book “Where the Stories Are.” A History of the Narragansett Free Public Library 1900 to 2005. There is an epilogue from 2005 to 2007.