Arts & Entertainment

Spotswood Public Library Turns 80

Happy birthday to the Spotswood Public Library!

SPOTSWOOD, NJ - The Spotswood Public Library is looking pretty good on its 80th birthday. It's extremely well-read and up on all the latest movies and magazines. The library is always hopping and has friends of all ages.

Not bad for an institution that began way back when.

While April marks the Spotswood Public Library's official birthday, the library actually dates all the way back to 1784. Of course, then it was housed in the Leonard Appleby House. Eventually, the Leonard Appleby House was renamed as the Community House. However, it wasn't until 1937 that the library actually became an integral part of the borough. The library was turned over to the Board of Education 80 years go. That's when residents began having access to its services. Up until that point, most folks living in town weren't even aware that there was a library.

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The little library with the long history has had at least two homes. By September 1970, the Community House had fallen on hard times. The Main Street building was condemned. For a time, it took up residence in a knitting mill that used to be located on Snowhill Street. To add insult to injury, the Community House burned down to the ground in the summer of 1971. There was some speculation at the time that the fire was intentionally set.

Two years later, construction began on the very spot where the original Leonard Appleby House once stood. When the building was finally complete on Dec. 2, 1973, the DeVoe Memorial Library opened its doors. Of course, today the library goes by another name, the Spotswood Public Library.

C.L. Quillen is the library's director, having been hired by the library's Board of Trustees in May of 2014. The library offers a story time kids from infants through second grade. There are programs specifically suited to tweens as well as adult programs such as a monthly craft class, Monday movie matinees in addition to various lectures and family-friendly events.

Anniversary events will begin rolling in April and will continue through April of 2018. The library will also be celebrating its 45th year in its current building in the upcoming year, giving residents lots of reasons to show the library a little love.

To kick off the celebration, the library is paying homage to the 1930s this month with a movie each Friday that was set in the decade of hard times. On April 7, the matinee featured the Katharine Hepburn romance, "Stage Door." Next up on April 14 was "Amelia Earhart: The Final Flight." This week, the 1:30 p.m. Friday matinee will showcase "Lost Horizon." The movie was released in 1937, centering around a band of plane crash survivors that landed in Shangri-La. It was directed by Frank Capra and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. The month-long anniversary movie binge will conclude with the two-tissue box romance, "The Way We Were," starring Barbara Streisand and Robert Redford. While the classic love story was not set in the 1930s, it was released in 1973, the year the Spotswood Public Library first opened the doors of its current building.

Registration is not required for the Friday anniversary movies and the library will have tissues on hand for the April 28 showing of "The Way We Were." The Friends of the Spotswood Public Library is sponsoring all the Friday anniversary movies featured this month.

The Friends of the Spotswood Public Library is a community-based organization that is run by volunteers who help the library better serve the public. They routinely sponsor events throughout the year such as Monday Matinees and lectures as well as host fundraising endeavors that benefit the library's programs. The Friends were formed back in 1996 and celebrated their tenth anniversary in 2006.

Throughout the upcoming year, the Spotswood Public Library has several events planned to mark their 80th year in the borough. June will feature a big kickoff for their annual summer reading program. The library will showcase 1937 in their display case along with a book mark and altered book contest in addition to other themed events through April of 2018.

The Spotswood Public Library is located at 548 Main Street.

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