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
Nineteenth-Century New Jersey Photographers
April 10, 7-8:30 p.m.; SCLSNJ’s Hillsborough Library branch, located at 379 South Branch Road in Hillsborough
Monmouth County archivist Gary D. Saretzky will profile the photographers who were active in New Jersey before 1900, with a focus on those who lived or worked in Somerset County.
Colonial New Jersey from Contact to Revolution
May 8, 7-8:30 p.m.; SCLSNJ’s Bound Brook Memorial Library branch, located at 402 East High Street in Bound Brook
Dr. J. Mercantini will talk about the history of New Jersey and will focus on Somerset County’s role in the Crossroads of the American Revolution.
The Fiddle in America: A History and Demonstration
June 9, 1-2:30 p.m.; SCLSNJ’s Mary Jacobs Memorial Library branch, located at 64 Washington Street in Rocky Hill
Dr. Matthew Backes explores the origins and history of American fiddle music, covering a range of styles and modes of expression. Program funded by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities
How to Preserve and Create Meaningful Food Memories
June 21, 7-8:30 p.m.; Franklin Township Public Library, located at 485 DeMott Lane in Somerset
Learn ways to beautifully document and preserve recipes, photographs, cooking knowledge and more using technology and creativity. Vanessa Young is a writer, recipe developer, and educator focused on the intersection of food and culture. Register via the
events calendar at franklintwp.org or by phone at 732-873-8700.
Postcards from the Edge of Somerset County
July 18, 7-8:30 p.m.; SCLSNJ’s North Plainfield Memorial Library branch, located at 6 Rockview Avenue in North Plainfield
Mary Nelson, local history librarian at SCLSNJ’s Bound Brook Memorial Library, will present a slideshow of historic postcards from the library’s collection.
Learning New Jersey…One Building at a Time
September 17, 2018 7-8 p.m.; SCLSNJ’s Bridgewater Library branch, located at 1 Vogt Drive in Bridgewater
In New Jersey we are surrounded by unique and historically significant landscapes. This program will be presented by Dr. Gabrielle Esperdy, Ph.D. Program funded by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.
Preserving your Family’s Treasures
September 25, 7-8:30 p.m.; SCLSNJ’s Mary Jacobs Memorial Library branch, located at 64 Washington Street in Rocky Hill
Learn the best ways to preserve old photos, letters, maps, and other items typically found in boxes in the attic or basement. This program will be presented by Deb Schiff, local history librarian at Chester Library.
Owning New Jersey: From Homestead to Home Depot — Land Use in Somerset County
October 16, 7-8:30 p.m.; SCLSNJ’s Bridgewater Library branch, located at 1 Vogt Drive in Bridgewater
Forensic land title expert Joseph A. Grabas, will discuss the development of land acquisition, ownership, and development from 1664 to date in Somerset County.
Preserving the Fabrics of Your Life: Taking Care of Historic Textiles
November 10, 2-3:30 p.m.; SCLSNJ’s Manville Library branch, located at 100 South 10th Avenue in Manville
Learn what to look for when examining old fabric pieces and the appropriate ways to preserve these textiles with Susan Jerome, textile conservator from the University of Rhode Island.
“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.”
“We are excited and honored to receive such a grant to continue to preserve the history, culture, and diversity of Somerset County.”
“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.”
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/MyCentralJersey.com; 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.