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Somerville Reference Librarian Jim Sommerville Closes the Book on  43-Year Career

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Jim Sommerville, senior reference librarian, looks on as Somerville Mayor Brian Gallagher reads a proclamation honoring Sommerville on his retirement after 43 years at the library. Credits: Rod Hirsch
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SOMERVILLE, NJ - After 43 years of poring through books, microfilm and old newspapers, pondering questions and finding the answers, Jim Sommerville, senior reference librarian at the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey Somerville branch, is retiring.

“If there is anything to be known about this town, he knows it,” said Mayor Brian Gallagher at Monday night’s Borough Council meeting.

Fred Wied V, newly-elected to the Borough Council, thanked Sommerville for helping him research his fifth-grade paper.

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Gallagher read a proclamation in honor of Sommerville’s dedicated service to the community and his impending retirement. Sommerville looked on smiling, his library ID hanging from a lanyard around his neck. When the mayor was finished, the entire room stood and applauded.

Sommerville has a deep and abiding respect for history, spending countless hours in the New Jersey Room at the Somerville library, a treasure trove of rare, out-of-print books and other publications detailing the state’s history back as far as pre-Revolutionary War days.

The Borough Council passed a resolution renaming Sommerville’s beloved resource the “James L. Sommerville-New Jersey Room.”

The library staff will host a reception for Sommerville at the library, 35 West End Ave., from 1-4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29. 

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