ABOUT THE LIBRARY
In its historic building, the New Brunswick Free Public Library strives to give personalized, quality service to the community. The library traces its roots back to the 1796 Union Library Company. The present library, incorporated in 1890, has been serving the community for over a century from its Carnegie building (completed in 1903) on Livingston Avenue. To delve a little deeper into the library's history, feel free to download and read this Centennial Tribute pamphlet found in the library's vertical file!
The library was expanded in 1990 with the addition of a larger Reference Room and a Community Meeting Room. In 1994, the Children’s Room was expanded and a Storytime Room was added. A new elevator completed in 2002 provides handicapped access to multiple levels of the library and added convenience for others discouraged by stairs.
The library is administered by a professional staff of ten under the direction of a Board of Trustees. Open in the evening and on Saturdays throughout the year, the library is also open most Sundays between September and May. Library users can also telephone or email the library with questions.
The Library stresses service to all but especially to children and teenagers. The Children’s Room offers a variety of programs including storytimes and a summer reading program. For teens, there is a homework center as well as our expanding Young Adult collection of books and magazines. Visits to the Library by classes, day care groups, scout troops or other groups can be arranged by calling either the Children’s or Young Adult Librarians.
The Library is an electronic doorway while still having 80,000 books, over 200 periodicals, and over one thousand audio/video materials. In addition to many online databases, the Library has microfilms of New Brunswick newspapers including the Home News from 1783 until today. An extensive New Brunswick collection includes maps, reproducible pictures, slides, and pamphlets from New Brunswick and the surrounding communities. More information about our collections can be found under the Library Materials heading here on this website.
A heavily used service of the Library is its meeting room, where non-profit organizations can hold public meetings. Demand requires that interested organizations request the room as early as possible. To book the room, call 732-745-5108 x28. To learn more about our meeting rooms click here.
The Library is a member of the Libraries of Middlesex Automation Consortium. Using the catalog terminals located in the Library (or by accessing the catalog online) you can locate books and other items both in our library and in most surrounding public libraries. Almost all of these materials can be sent to the Library within days. If speed is essential, you can go to one of the reciprocal libraries, including LMxAC, MURAL, and the Raritan Valley Federation libraries. For a list of these libraries, please click here or contact the library at 732.745.5108x25.
The Library staff strives to give patrons friendly and professional service so each patron leaves the library with what they wanted and feeling their tax dollars are well spent. If you would like to make a suggestion or other comment, please fill out a comment form and either mail it in or drop it by the library in person.
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THE HENRY GUEST HOUSE
In 1755, Henry Guest, who had a flourishing tannery somewhere between Commercial Avenue and Schulyer Streets, bought two and a half acres on the corner of Livingston Avenue and Carroll Place (New Street) in New Brunswick. Five years later, Guest built a sandstone house in which he and his family lived until his death in 1815.
In 1817, it was advertised for sale as, “One of the best stone houses in the State of New Jersey.” A century after Henry Guest, the house was in imminent danger of being demolished. In 1924, this stone building was moved up Livingston Avenue to its present location next to the New Brunswick Free Public Library.
Henry Guest said, "If his descendants would only keep a roof on it, the house would stand till Gabriel blew his trumpet." Over the years, the roof and other parts of the building did deteriorate. In 1992, the City of New Brunswick and the New Jersey State Historic Trust funded a major exterior renovation including a new roof and repointing of the mortar to check the decline of this historic house. In 2011, the City funded an addition for handicapped access. The Guest House is now used for community meetings.
For more information about the Henry Guest House, see its page on our Archives website.
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