|Location||Newark, New Jersey, USA|
|Access and use|
James Street Commons Historic District
|NRHP reference #||78001758|
|Added to NRHP||January 9, 1978|
|Designated NJRHP||February 10, 1977|
The Newark Public Library (NPL) is a public library system in Newark, New Jersey. The library offers numerous programs and events to its diverse population. With eight different locations, the Newark Public Library serves as a Statewide Reference Center. The Newark Public Library is the public library system for the city of Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, United States. The historic Newark Public Library traces its beginnings to the Newark Library Association, a private organization that was chartered in 1847. In 1887, the people of Newark approved the founding of a Free Public Library. The Newark 'Free Public Library,' which was the predecessor to the Newark Public Library, opened on West Park Street in the central ward of downtown Newark in 1889 and offered a collection of over 10,000 books which had been acquired from the Newark Library Association. Over time, the influx of more books and an increasing population necessitated the construction of a new building at 5 Washington Street, the current location of the main branch of the Newark Public Library. Currently, the library boasts an enormous collection of both art and literature, art and history exhibits, a variety of programs for all ages, and much more.
The First Avenue Branch, located in upper Roseville, and the Madison Branch, located in Clinton Hill, closed down on August 27, 2010 due to budget cuts. The Roseville Branch, located in lower Roseville, is temporarily closed.
|Branch Brook Branch||235 Clifton Avenue||https://npl.org/community-libraries/branch-brook-branch/||June 1946|
|Clinton Branch||739 Bergen Street||https://npl.org/community-libraries/clinton-branch/||December 2, 1925|
|Main Library||5 Washington Street||https://npl.org/main-library/||1887|
|North End Branch||722 Summer Avenue||https://npl.org/community-libraries/north-end-branch/||1930|
|Springfield Branch||50 Hayes Street||https://npl.org/community-libraries/springfield-branch/||1923|
|Vailsburg Branch||75 Alexander Street||https://npl.org/community-libraries/vailsburg-branch/||1906|
|Van Buren Branch||140 Van Buren Street||https://npl.org/community-libraries/van-buren-branch/||September 23, 1923|
|Weequahic Branch||355 Osborne Terrace||https://npl.org/community-libraries/weequahic-branch/||May 1929|
The Newark Public Library opened in 1889 on West Park Street. When the population of Newark, New Jersey increased, a new building was constructed at 5 Washington Street. An architectural marvel, the new building, designed by Rankin and Kellogg, was influenced by the 15th century Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy. The library also served as a museum, lecture hall, and a gallery. In 1902, John Cotton Dana succeeded Frank P. Hill to become the director of the library. John Cotton Dana greatly promoted the educational value of the library. For example, he bought books for the blind, established foreign language collections for immigrants, and even developed a special collection for the business community. This "Business Branch" was the first of its kind in the nation. John Cotton Dana was employed at the Newark Public Library in Newark, New Jersey until his death in 1929. He established foreign language collections for immigrants and also developed a special collection for the business community. This "Business Branch" was the first of its kind in the nation.
John Cotton Dana also founded the Newark Museum in 1909, directing it until his death. After his death, his successor at the Newark public library referred to him as "The First Citizen of Newark". Six years after his death, the city of Newark appointed October 6, 1935 as John Cotton Dana Day. In fact, Rutgers University-Newark's main library is named after John Cotton Dana. Also, after the death of Dana in 1929, the library continued to thrive. In 1930, the library had a book truck which brought books to children throughout Newark and in 1963 the library became a Federal Regional Depository.
The four-story Italian Renaissance-inspired building was designed by John Hall Rankin and Thomas M. Kellogg, drawing inspiration from the 15th century Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy. Their intentions were to have the building not only serve as a library, but also as a museum, lecture hall, and gallery, that would provide cultural, as well as educational experiences in an aesthetically pleasing environment. The building structure includes an open center court/foyer with arches and mosaics that extended upward to a stained glass ceiling four stories high.
On February 2, 2017 the library announced the appointment of a new library director. Jeffrey Trzeciak will begin the post February 27, 2017.
As of 4/10/2018:
In 2006 the Main Library was renovated. All 108 windows of the building were restored. The exterior skylight, which roofs the Main Atrium was repaired. All nine cracked panels on the skylight were replaces. The decorative Atrium lay-light was lubricated and all of the cracked stained glass was replaced. The public spaces in the library were also modified. The entrance doors were replaced with new wooden ones, all internal and external hardware was refurbished or replaced, and opening assistance mechanisms were added to the entrance and atrium doors. The Main Atrium and the Audio/Video room were also refurbished.
This renovation of the main library was the first of three phases. Phase one included the restoration of windows, repairs to the skylight in the main atrium, new wood doors to the Washington Street entrance, installation of two glass and wood display cases, widening of the entrance, new marble flooring, cleaning of walls and ceilings and floors, a new circulation desk, new shelving and cabinets in the main atrium, the addition of an audio/video room, and new computer terminals. The second phase of the project is not yet under way as the capital to finance the project is still being raised. The second phase will include the restoration of Centennial Hall, the reading room on the second floor and the restoration of the Fiction Room and the Auditorium. The third phase is the construction of a glass building at 5 Washington Street, which will include the Charles F. Cumming New Jersey Information Center, the James Brown African American Room, the La Sala Hispanoamericana, world language collections, young adults space, a café, and a meeting room.
After being selected by the Association of American College & Universities (AAC&U) to partake in the implementation of a Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) campus centers, Rutgers University-Newark partnered with the Newark Public Library to aid in the development of the program. The AAC&U selected 10 universities to implement these programs and provided each a grant of $30,000. The goal is to bring to light the issues regarding racial inequality in diverse cities like Newark. Though selected in August 2017, the programs began on January 17th, 2017 at the Newark Public Library and include events that addressed DACA and the Charlottesville Riots and used spoken word poetry and art as mediums.