King Library Restoration

PRESERVING THE PAST. PLANNING THE FUTURE.

The King Library will be closed from at least October 13th through November 5th as we move more than 70,000 items into the newly restored building. We ask that you keep all materials during this time. If materials must be returned, they need to be placed in the book drop located in the Rovensky parking lot. No reserved titles will be held during this time. Library programs will take place in the Dixon Education building through December.

We appreciate your understanding during this process, and if you have any questions please email Kinglibrary@fourarts.org.

Please join us for the King Library Grand Opening celebration on December 13th at 11 a.m.

Main Library Page 

Regular Hours of Operation:

  • Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
  • Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. (November through April)
  • Closed Sundays and Holidays

During the restoration period, The King Library will no longer accept book donations.

Thank you for your patience during the King Library restoration project.

Further questions or information may be directed to: (561) 655-2766 or kinglibrary@fourarts.org

Planning the Future

After eight decades, our beloved library will receive much-needed updates that will enhance the experience for all visitors. In every discussion about design, our guiding principles have been charm, warmth and tradition. Harsh and unattractive florescent lighting will be removed and replaced with Mediterranean style fixtures, and the handsome pecky cypress ceiling that once crowned the second floor will be revealed for the first time in decades as drop ceilings are removed. Additions that were not part of the historic Maurice Fatio design will be replaced to create open flexible space and room for readings and events. Book storage will be carefully analyzed and designed in a way that allows our collection to grow.

Our rare book room, home to the treasury of Addison Mizner scrapbooks and many other valuable resources, will be upgraded with necessary temperature and humidity controls, enabling us to preserve these works for generations to come. The original library entrance designed by Fatio will be restored and enhanced with greater accessibility and safety for all our patrons.

CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE

The Past

Inspired by aspiration, curiosity and passion for the beauty of the world, in the early 1930s three Palm Beach women set out to create something extraordinary. An announcement signed by Mrs. Maud Howe Elliott, Mrs. Lorenzo E. Woodhouse and Mrs. Frederick Johnson stated that a group of citizens had decided to form an organization to promote the appreciation of art, music, drama and literature. Mrs. Elliott was a Pulitzer Prize winning author who already had found success cultivating the appreciation of the arts in 1912 as a founding member of the Newport Artists Society. She, along with Mrs. Woodhouse and Mrs. Johnson (who were well-known artists in their own right), began the task of recruiting others to their cause, now known as The Society of the Four Arts.

To heed Mrs. Elliott’s cry for a home for the Four Arts, funds were soon raised to buy the land and erect a building (the present library) on Four Arts Plaza. Maurice Fatio and his architectural firm of Treanor and Fatio donated their services, creating a beautiful Mediterranean revival-style building with gracious archways, galleries with high ceilings and authentic pecky cypress details.

The Four Arts moved into this new building on January 8, 1938, and art exhibits, poetry readings, lectures and musical events began to take place. Passionate about literature, Mrs. Elliott made plans to start a reading room and library. Then Four Arts President Dr. Daniel J. McCarthy appointed Mrs. Elliott chairman of the committee to establish a library in Palm Beach.

On February 10, 1940, a ceremony was held opening the Library on the second floor of the building and dedicating the beautiful portrait of Mrs. Elliott, commissioned by Mrs. Woodhouse and painted by Adele Herter. This portrait now hangs behind the front desk of the Library.

The Library quickly became the center for the many cultural, civic and philanthropic events.

At the invitation of Mrs. Elliott, groups of interested people met in the Library for poetry readings. At one such meeting, Mrs. Elliott related anecdotes of her friendship and visits with Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The Four Arts Library established a completely separate children’s department and hired a professional children’s librarian in 1956. The Children’s Library later moved across the street to its present location in the Rovensky Administration Building. In 1997 the library received a generous donation from Gioconda and Joseph King, and the name of the library was changed to recognize this splendid gift.

Today, the Four Arts King Library flourishes with more than 75,000 books, audiobooks, DVDs and periodicals. The longstanding comfort of the original card catalog remains alongside a touch-screen tablet to help visitors browse the collection of digital books and media. Frequent book discussions, play readings and author talks attract standing-room-only crowds, and innovative teen programming is bringing in a new generation of library patrons.

The story of the King Library is one of community, enlightenment and pride.

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Administration: 561-655-7227 Box Office: 561-655-7226 King Library: 561-655-2766 Children's Library: 561-655-2776 Campus on the Lake Registration: 561-805-8562