The Newark Public Library:
The Newark Public Library is celebrating its 125th anniversary by highlighting its remarkable history and its dedication to the people of Newark with an exhibit of photographs and other
historic materials. The Newark Public Library: 125 Years of Innovation and Service reflects on the Library's mission of service to the public even as it now strives to meet the demands of our 21st century customers.
When the city's population increased, property was purchased at what is now 5 Washington Street where a larger library would be constructed for Newark's residents. The cornerstone of the four–story Italian Renaissance style building was laid in 1899 and the new Library was dedicated two years later. The prominent edifice features many striking architectural details both on its façade and throughout its interior.
The progressive and influential librarian John Cotton Dana assumed the directorship in 1902 and promoted education, business, and culture in the Library. He purchased books for the blind, established a system of interlibrary loans, and opened the first business library in the country in 1904. Dana's outreach efforts expanded to hospitals. Upon Dana's death in 1929, Beatrice Winser continued extension services. Library materials were delivered to the homebound and, in 1930, a book truck brought reading materials to children throughout Newark.
The Newark Public Library encouraged learning, hosted exhibits and musical programs, and introduced new services, research divisions, and branch libraries to meet changing needs. Significant initiatives during the 20th century included reading improvement classes, services to the homebound, a bookmobile that delivered reading materials to children, and a job information center.
In 1963, the institution became a Federal Regional Depository for New Jersey and the library also currently serves as a Statewide Reference Center, providing research assistance to libraries throughout New Jersey. Researchers can also access unique collections held by the library's specialized departments, most notably by the Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center, the New Jersey Hispanic Research and Information Center, the Special Collections Division.
Today, the Library hosts a range of enriching programs for its diverse population. The Library's celebrations of both Black History and Hispanic Heritage with music, dance, lectures, community discussions, and film are prime examples of the Library's extraordinary multicultural programming. Arts and crafts, SAT prep classes, college fairs, sign language classes, art exhibits, lectures, movies, and performances, are offered. Recently, grant funding has afforded the Library the opportunity to provide computer classes for all skill levels, with an emphasis on job search and career advancement. Special equipment in the Special Services room gives patrons with low vision access to reading materials. All events are listed on the library's calendar, which is accessible here.
The Newark Public Library: 125 Years of Innovation and Service, displays materials from the collections of the Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center and the Special Collections Division. Architectural drawings, photographs, and ephemera documenting the Library's history, services, and modernization will be on view. Arranged thematically by curator Nadine Sergejeff, Special Collections Librarian, the exhibit emphasizes the ways the institution continues John Cotton Dana's legacy and embraces opportunities for innovation to serve Newarkers.
A reception will be held in the gallery on Monday, May 19 from 6:00 to 8:00pm.
©2014 The Newark Public Library