Somerville Public Library

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Somerville Public Library is a public library located at 35 West End Avenue in Somerville, New Jersey. It is centered at the end of Somerville’s downtown Main Street and is in the same building as the town’s Borough Hall. Not only do they offer books, movies, CDs, and periodicals, but they host special events, programs for children and teenagers, lectures, and WiFi access.

History

When the first established public library started to outgrow its structure around 1900, plans were drafted to create a more permanent building for the library. However, since the town began to expand population wise, the majority of the focus began to turn to building churches, businesses, and a hospital. The idea of a larger building for the library would have to be put on hold until the Library’s Board of Trustees could raise enough funds and gather enough support among the town residents. Through the funds collected through the public, the Trustees purchased a property space on Maple Ave. Their idea of the perfect building would have large windows to let in the natural light from the sun and hired George B. Post to accomplish this dream. On April 14, 1902, the Library on Maple Ave opened its doors to the public.

Just like knowledge grows, the Maple Ave location had to expand in 1924 in order to hold the growing number of books it housed. About four years later, the Library had to seek another building and was moved to the corner of Bridge and High Streets. While the Board of Trustees knew this was a temporary residence, it stayed in the Schwed building until 1958. Many plans were drawn up to find a more permanent place for the Library but the funding stalled many opportunities. It was not until 1956 when the Borough Council purchased the Elks Club building, located on West End Avenue, that the library found its permanent home. After much debate over the planned building, the Board of Trustees approved the new home in 1958. The Elks Club building is located at the end of Downtown Somerville and also houses the Borough Hall offices. More than fifty years later, the Library is still located in the Elks Club Building with no plans to move it.

Services and programs

In addition to more than 50,000 books, the Somerville Public Library has many other services and programs for town residents, something for everyone! They are subscribed to more than 100 magazines and newspapers, including the most popular ones. They have a full selection of DVD movies and music, ranging from new releases to the classics. They also have photocopiers, offer Public Notary services and have free Wifi internet throughout the building.

They also host special events throughout the year for ages ranging from toddlers to senior citizens. They host Friday game nights for middle and high school students to interact and play video games in a safe environment and for younger children, they have story time and arts and craft hours. The library also has film showings, talent shows, book signings, concerts and community outreach activities throughout the year. For the adults, the Somerville Public Library offers classes in chess, knitting, and other leisure activities, as well as workshops on a variety of topics and an adult literacy program. Everyone can find one activity that interests them at the Somerville Public Library.

Membership

The Somerville Public Library requires a membership card in order to use the library’s offerings and use it at more than 40 different libraries! It is available for free for residents and employees of Somerville, NJ, educators and students who do not live in town but teach or attend the Somerville schools, non-residents who are 60 years of age or older, or if you live in one of the temporary housing in Somerville, but restrictions apply. You can also apply for the library if you are a member of the Middlesex County Reciprocal Associated Libraries, Union County Reciprocal Associated Libraries, or the Raritan Valley Federation of Libraries. For people who are interested in becoming a member of the Somerville Public Library but do not meet one of the requirements, you can apply for a special subscriber card with a donation of $20, which will give you full access to the library and its services.

Friends of the Somerville Public Library

Founded about 25 years ago, the Friends of the Somerville Public Library is composed of people young and old. They work together on different projects throughout the year to raise funds and awareness for the Library. The members volunteer their time to help operate the library and run library events.

References

1. Somerville Public Library Website

2. Somerville Public Library

3. Somerville Public Library YouTube Video Coordinates: 40°34′14″N 74°37′11″W / 40.5706°N 74.6197°W / 40.5706; -74.6197

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