NEWTON, NJ - The Sussex County Library System will mark their 75th Anniversary on May 15, 2017. From a 621 sq. ft. room in the basement of the Hall of Records housing 8,000 books, the library has grown to six permanent locations circulating over 800,000 items per year.
The public is invited to celebrations of this milestone event at every library location.
On Saturday, May 13 from 2:00-4:00 p.m., the Main Library in Frankford will host the flagship celebration with guest speakers, historic displays, refreshments, and a special birthday party for children with cookie decorating and crafts. The whole County is invited, but for those who prefer to celebrate closer to home, each Branch will host an open house the following week showcasing memorabilia significant to each location, and free refreshments for all. Each celebration will be held from 2:00-7:00 p.m.:
· Monday, May 15, Dennis Branch, 101 Main Street, Newton
· Tuesday, May 16, Dorothy Henry Branch, 66 Route 94, Vernon & E. Louise Childs Branch, 21 Sparta Road, Stanhope
· Wednesday, May 17, Sussex-Wantage Branch, 69 Route 639, Wantage
· Thursday, Franklin Branch, 103 Main Street, Franklin
Though the County system was established in 1942, the history of libraries in Sussex County dates back to the late 1800s when Mr. Alfred L. Dennis offered to fund the construction of a town hall and public library as long as the town residents were willing to put up $5,000. It took several years, but on Thanksgiving Day, 1872 the Newton Library was dedicated and opened to the public.
Over the years the Newton location expanded and moved, dozens of local Library Stations were established, and the predecessor to the current Sussex-Wantage Branch opened in a room at the Sussex High School in 1938. But it wasn’t until 1941, when Mr. Ralph Decker proposed a plan for a tax-supported public library, that the Board of Chosen Freeholders put the issue to popular vote and the County Free Library was formed.
Since its very first basement opening, the Library has expanded to serve the needs of its patrons. Six permanent locations serve the needs of Sussex County residents, workers and students. In keeping with the times, downloadable books, audiobooks and magazines, plus a wide variety of reference databases, ensure that library services are available 24 hours a day.
The library hopes all of its patrons, as well as the residents of the County, will attend one of the celebrations. It has been an honor for the library staff to serve the County’s residents for the past 75 years, and the staff remains committed to providing outstanding service for many years to come.