MIDDLETOWN, NJ - On General Election Day 1920, Middletown voters are asked to establish a Free Public Library of Middletown. A large majority voted yes! Interest in forming a library began in 1913, with the Navesink Civic Association starting a lending library, followed by the incorporation of the Middletown Public Library in 1916.  

The newly-formed free library opened its doors on June 4, 1921. Circulation for 1921-22 was 34,864 items. Today the library circulates over 400,000 items a year, roughly 23 materials per Middletown household. William Bucco, Library Board of Trustees, said, "I am grateful to the board volunteers who worked tirelessly over the past 100 years to build, expand and sustain our wonderful library for generations to come." 

The Middletown Township Public Library kicks off its centennial year with a virtual discussion on the Pulitzer nominated, National Book Award Winner, and New York Times Bestseller In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick. The public can view the discussion anytime between 3/22- 4/30 at https://www.mtpl.org/nea-big-read/

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“One hundred years ago when the library started, staff needed to be innovative to implement the library services in this rural community. Today, we are once again reinventing how the library delivers programs and services to the Middletown residents. I am honored to be part of such a treasured institution," said Library Director Heather Andolsen.  

“Our library has been a source of pride for Middletown for decades and we all look forward to celebrating its 100-year anniversary this year,” said Mayor Tony Perry.  

Copies of In the Heart of the Sea are available to check out in both the adult and young adult versions, and the first 20 people who sign-up for the book discussion on March 23 will receive a free copy of the book for their personal library. 

“All programs are free, and the public may register at https://www.mtpl.org/nea-big-read/. Virtual programs allow the library to offer access to this impressive slate of programming to anyone interested, regardless of residency. Please, feel free to join our 100-year celebration," said Andolsen. 

The Centennial Committee of the Middletown Township Public Library will be hosting programs throughout the year, and we encourage you to visit our social media and website for updates. 

The library will be raising funds to create a Centennial Legacy History Project that will incorporate a new area in the building for research and programming, which will concentrate on Middletown’s History while incorporating cutting-edge technology to bring history to life. 

Additionally, this room will house our new legacy project for Middletown residents, who may submit memories of loved ones for digital preservation. To donate to the Centennial Legacy History Project, visit our website, mtpl.org, or call the library at 732-671-3700 to discuss sponsorship opportunities.