In July 1947, Mary J. Sanford, owner of the Manchester Shopping Mart and member of the Kitsap Regional Library board of trustees, donated a corner of the shopping mart for use as a library. Quickly gaining community support, the library grew and moved to a renovated chicken coop in 1948. The library then moved again, to a 16-by-24 modular building at the Port of Manchester in 1953. The Friends of the Library received designation as a nonprofit organization in 1976 and two years later, were able to successfully secure a Farmers Home Administration grant which allowed for the construction of a permanent building that opened in 1954. With collections, staff and interior furnishings provided by Kitsap Regional Library, the current Manchester library location opened for business in September of 1980. The community room was added in 1994.
Through the efforts of the Friends of the Manchester Library, the Manchester branch began a new chapter in 2022, with renovations that expanded the library by 35%. These renovations created more reading space for adults, larger areas for kids and teens, enlarged the meeting space and updated the shelving, paint and carpet in the interior.
The Manchester location benefits from its surrounding gardens, which the Long Lake Garden Club and the Friends of the Library design and maintain. The gardens are an active teaching space that demonstrates water-wise, sustainable gardening techniques and educates the public on local flora. The Manchester location building is currently owned and maintained by its Friends of the Library group; the property on which it is located is owned by the Port of Manchester.
- Building owner: Friends of Manchester Library
- Date built: 1980
- Major Remodel: 2022
- Size: 3,375 square feet
- Population served: 9,250
- Meeting Room: The Manchester meeting room is available to groups at reasonable rates. The Friends of Manchester Library set the policies for the room rental as well as the rates, user requirements and procedures. For rates and reservations, please contact the Library.