Union County, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites residents and visitors to celebrate the rich legacy of the Carnegie Libraries this summer, with a series of three special events in June, July and August. The events will be held at the Main Library in historic midtown Elizabeth, at 11 South Broad Street.
“Our free public libraries are the backbone of American democracy. They are places where people from all walks of life can meet on an equal footing, and pillars of strength for those seeking opportunities for self-improvement,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados. “In honoring the Carnegie Libraries we also pay tribute to the invaluable role of free and equal access to knowledge and information in our communities.”
The three events are:
Wednesday, June 13 at 6:00 p.m. — A panel discussion with representatives of the six towns that have or had a Carnegie Library. The event includes PowerPoint presentations, pictures, and documents associated with the six buildings.
Wednesday, July 11 at 6:30 p.m. – An opening reception for a new exhibit titled, “A Carnegie Library: The History of the Elizabeth Public Library,” including original materials covering the design, construction, and evolution of Elizabeth’s two Carnegie Libraries. The exhibit will run from July 2 through July 28.
Thursday, August 9 at 4:30 p.m. — Author and Monmouth University librarian Eleonora Dubicki will be the featured speaker sharing research for her article “Carnegie Libraries in New Jersey: 1900-1923.” Ms. Dubicki has published two books and more than a dozen articles on topics in the field of library and information science.
Andrew Carnegie was a hard driving industrialist of the 19th century who became a leading civic philanthropist in the early 20th century. A major part of his legacy was the endowment of 1,688 public libraries throughout the country, including six in Union County: Westfield, Plainfield, Cranford, Summit and Elizabeth, which had two.
The Main Library in Elizabeth was constructed in 1912 and is the only one of those six to continue functioning as a library.
“This celebration of the Carnegie Libraries is also a timely reminder of the profound impact that immigrants have on the quality of life in our communities,” said Chairman Granados. “Andrew Carnegie came to this country from Scotland with hardly a dime to his name, and countless millions of Americans have benefited from his legacy.”
The Carnegie Library series is a partnership with the Union County of Board of Chosen Freeholders through the Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, the Elizabeth Public Library and the New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance.
Photo Credit: Main Library, Elizabeth Public Library.
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