Explore how architecture enhances and enriches communities at SCLSNJ this summer

Business philosopher Jim Rohn once said, “Whatever good things we build end up building us.” And this summer, the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) will be working to build greater community, and, ultimately, build a better world, by exploring local history and noteworthy architectural projects.

“Our library patrons have spoken, and in response to their suggestions to offer more history programs, we have put together a series of lectures focusing on historical architecture,” said system programming coordinator Marcela Dunham.

“With our busy lives we may routinely drive by buildings without knowing much about their background and historical relevance,” continued Dunham. “A variety of programs will highlight buildings remaining from NJ’s colonial past as well as those designed by renowned local architect and Somerset County resident, George Post. And let us not forget those friendly, familiar beacons on the Garden State’s highways and downtown business districts: our diners! Along with tales of noteworthy diners of the past and present, SCLSNJ will pay tribute to those stainless steel gems, admired around the world and recognized as iconic examples of American industrial design, which have made New Jersey the ‘Diner Capital of the World.’ We invite patrons to join us on these virtual tours to learn more about Somerset County’s rich architectural history.”

NJ’s Colonial Architecture
June 20, 7-8 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s Warren Township Library branch
July 15, 3-4 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s North Plainfield Memorial Library branch
July 20, 7-8 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s Mary Jacobs Memorial Library branch
“New Jersey’s ,” David Veasey’s latest book, discusses the substantial number of buildings remaining from NJ’s colonial past. Sandwiched between Philadelphia and New York City, New Jersey often doesn’t get due credit for its contributions to colonial and early American life, including its rich and diverse architectural heritage.

The History of Diners in New Jersey
June 29, 7-8 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s Manville Library branch
July 27, 7-8 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s Bound Brook Memorial Library branch
August 3, 7-8 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s Hillsborough Library branch
During the 20th century, NJ was the diner manufacturing capital of the world. The vintage stainless steel gems built in NJ were distinctive icons of American industrial design and admired around the world. Author and historian Michael Gabriele will discuss how diners play an important role in the State’s culture, community life, commerce and mythology, and serve as the ultimate egalitarian dining experience.

The Arch in Architecture
June 29, 7-8 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s Somerville Library branch
August 9, 7-8 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s Watchung Library branch
Jharoka, an ornate window balcony, is a famous architectural element seen in many forts, palaces and homes in India. The beautiful arched openings were ornately decorated with sculptural designs, mosaics, and more! Join us to create a three-dimensional photo frame inspired by beautiful jharoka designs and have fun decorating it with Indian arts and crafts materials. Presented by Seema Moondra, from Enjoy Explore India.

George Post, “Dean of American Architects”
July 12, 7-8 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s Peapack & Gladstone Library branch (This program will take place in the Council Room of the Municipal Complex.)
August 22, 7-8 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s Bridgewater Library branch
William Barry Thomson, co-author of “New Jersey Country Houses: The Somerset Hills,” will discuss the life of noted New York architect and Somerset County resident George Browne Post (1837-1913). Post, a long-time resident of Bernardsville, designed dozens of residences as well as numerous other structures in Somerset and neighboring counties. Post, referred by his peers as “the dean of American architects,” is perhaps best known for his design of the New York Stock Exchange and for the ways he advanced the technology and the art of the skyscraper.

Meet Frank Lloyd Wright
July 20, 6:30-7:30 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s Manville Library branch
Famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright was born June 8, 1867 in Wisconsin. Wright promoted organic architecture and is known for his Usonian house concept and his Prairie School movement. Celebrate his 150th birthday with a performance by actor Bob Gleason from the American Historical Theatre.

Build a Better Wardrobe: Clothing Drive and Swap
July 8, 1-4 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s North Plainfield Memorial Library branch
The Library will collect donations beginning Monday, June 19, through Thursday, July 6, and the swap will take place on Saturday, July 8. What to bring: clean, gently used men’s, women’s, teens, and children’s clothes, coats, and shoes. Donate as many items as you want up until July 6. On the day of the swap, bring up to 15 items (per person) to exchange for 15 new-to-you items. You do not have to donate prior to the swap date in order to take part in the swap, and those making large donations will receive a voucher for use on swap day. All un-exchanged items will be donated to local organizations for the benefit of our community. No registration required.

Women Who Helped Build A Better World
July 11, 7-8:30 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s Bound Brook Memorial Library branch
Dressed as Abigail Adams, Carol Simon Levin will perform “Remembering the Ladies,” a “collective biography” highlighting influential women and events in American history.

Meet Alexander Graham Bell
July 29, 2-3 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s Bridgewater Library branch
Born to a deaf mother, Bell was taught elocution by his father who invented a phonetic alphabet called Bell’s Visible Speech, influencing Alexander’s later career choice as teacher of the deaf. To earn money to open a school, Bell applied his talents to improve the telegraph, enabling more than one message to be sent at a time. At the 1876 U.S. Centennial Exposition at Fairmount Park, Bell exhibited his telephone for the first time: the “tipping point” for the progress of the 19th century. Portrayed by actor Bob Gleason from the American Historical Theatre. Children 9+ are welcome with an adult.

Bridge Builder in Petticoats: Emily Roebling
August 3, 1-2:30 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s Warren Township Library branch
Many books and films have featured the Brooklyn Bridge and millions of people have crossed it. Yet, few people know that a woman helped manage much of its construction. After her husband was bedridden, Emily Roebling became his liaison to the project–eventually communicating with the engineers and suppliers so well that it was rumored that she had become the Chief Engineer herself! At her death, she was called “the most famous woman in New Jersey” and “one of the most noted women in the country,” yet today almost no one knows her name. Come see SCLSNJ’s Carol Simon Levin reenact Emily’s story.

Meet Alice Paul
August 5, 2-3 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s Bridgewater Library branch
Alice Paul was an American suffragist (born in NJ), feminist, women’s rights activist, and the main leader and strategist of the 1910s campaign for the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibited sex discrimination in the right to vote. Reenacted by Alisa Dupuy of Ladies of History Historical Productions. Children ages 9+ are welcome with an adult.

Build Your Own World: LARPing in the Library
August 26, 6-10 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s North Plainfield Memorial Library branch
Test out your improvisational skills in a live action interactive theater experience with The Mind’s Eye Society. Program begins promptly at 6 p.m. Doors open at 5:45 p.m.

Registration is required for all events unless otherwise noted. Visit SCLSNJ.org to learn more or to check out one (or two) of our over 850 architecture books for adults.