The Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) has been awarded a $12,000 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant spanning January 2018 through June 2019.

SCLSNJ will be collecting, cataloging, and preserving the collective memories of Somerset County residents.

Utilizing a suite of digitization equipment including seven (7) high resolution scanners, a lightbox, a digital single-lens reflex camera, and more; as well as the expertise of SCLSNJ’s archival and historical librarians, the Library will be providing residents the opportunity to both preserve and learn about their own history and that of their neighbors.

Somerset County residents should bring no more than 5 items to each digitization session,  including:

  • Historic photographs, letters, or documents;
  • Sketches, paintings, or other artwork;
  • Family heirlooms including recipes;
  • Jewelry or decorative arts;
  • Textiles such as quilts, samplers, flags, or uniforms;
  • Antique toys;
  • And, other artifacts.

2018 Digitization Dates

April 7, 1-3 p.m.
SCLSNJ’s Hillsborough Library branch

May 12, 1-3 p.m.
SCLSNJ’s Bound Brook Memorial Library branch

June 23, 1-3 p.m.
Hosted offsite at the Franklin Township Library

July 21, 1-3 p.m.
SCLSNJ’s North Plainfield Memorial Library branch

September 22, 1-3 p.m.
SCLSNJ’s Mary Jacobs Memorial Library branch

October 20, 1-3 p.m.
SCLSNJ’s Bridgewater Library branch

November 17, 1-3 p.m.
SCLSNJ’s Manville Library branch

2019 Digitization Dates

March 23, 1-3 p.m.
SCLSNJ’s Somerville Library branch

April 13, 1-3 p.m.
SCLSNJ’s Warren Township Library branch

May 18, 1-3 p.m.
SCLSNJ’s Peapack & Gladstone Library branch

June 15, 1-3 p.m.
SCLSNJ’s Watchung Library branch

Explore Programs

Book Trucks to Branches: The Early History of SCLSNJ
Learn the history of SCLSNJ beginning with its headquarters location at Somerville’s “other library.” Presented by Ken Kaufman, adult services librarian at the Bridgewater branch.  

Warren in the 1950s
The post World War II period was a time of great changes for towns and cities across the United States, and Warren Township was no exception. Explore Warren in the 1950s – including periods of rapid population, construction, and infrastructure growth – with Rory Britt from Warren’s Historic Sites Committee.

  • April 10, 7-8:30 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s Warren Twp. Library branch, located at 42 Mountain Boulevard in Warren Twp. Register:

Farming in the Millstone Valley: Past and Present – Film Showing and Panel Discussion
Dutch farmers were the first Europeans to settle central NJ and for the next three centuries played a central role in creating the towns and communities we call home.

  • Featuring the filmmakers, including: Brad Fay of the Millstone Valley Preservation Coalition; Jessie Havens of the Van Harlingen Historical Society; and Fred Frintrup of Visionary Studios. April 18, 7-8:30 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s Hillsborough Library branch, located at 379 South Branch Road in Hillsborough. Register:
  • Featuring leaders of the local farm-to-table movement, including: Chris Albrecht, Executive Chef of the Ryland Inn; Alec Gioseffi, President of the Cherry Valley Co-Op; and Ryck Suydam, owner of Suydam Farms and President of the NJ Farm Bureau. June 3, 7-8:30 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s Bridgewater Library branch, located at 1 Vogt Drive in Bridgewater Register:

Finding Evidence of Early Families in Somerset County: The Mellick Case
Ken Kaufman, local history librarian, will examine what documentation is readily available for researching early settlers in Somerset County using online genealogical resources.

  • May 15, 7-8:30 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s Peapack & Gladstone Library branch, located at the Municipal Complex on School Street in Peapack. Register:

American Jewelry: A Cultural Stroll Through The Decades
Marilyn Visakay, certified appraiser, will discuss how American jewelry evolved throughout 20th century America. Tips to safeguard and preserve vintage and antique jewelry will also be addressed.

“Public institutions like the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey serve as a critical resource to communities across the nation. This federal investment will help preserve New Jersey’s diverse culture while showcasing the rich history found throughout Somerset County. I applaud the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey for embarking on this unique educational initiative that will serve generations of New Jerseyans to come.”

Cory Booker, U.S. Senator

“We are excited and honored to receive such a grant to continue to preserve the history, culture, and diversity of Somerset County.”

Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman, (R16)

“This grant will enable the Library System to expand upon a historical-memories initiative that was announced during the celebration of Somerset County’s 325th anniversary in 2013. This is an excellent opportunity to preserve the memories and mementos of the diverse citizens who call our county home.”

Patrick Scaglione, Somerset County Freeholder

The following community organizations will be partnering with SCLSNJ through the course of this eighteen-month project: The Board of Chosen Freeholders, Somerset County; The Courier News/; the Franklin Township Public Library; the New Jersey Council for the Humanities; and Somerset County Historical Society

The Somerset County Library System of New Jersey Common Heritage initiative has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in these Library programs do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.