Throughout 2019, the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) will continue to focus on the evolution of a thriving community with a program series and digitization days that center on the history of Somerset County and beyond. In partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), SCLSNJ will continue to collect, catalog, and preserve the collective memories of Somerset County residents.
“The National Endowment of the Humanities grant aligns with SCLSNJ’s strategic priority to promote the Library as an impartial platform for creating meaningful interactions and connections,” said Lauren Ryan, SCLSNJ manager of branch services – strategic initiatives and special projects. “Through this grant, and by providing technology access and expertise that meet the needs of the community, we are able to record the history of Somerset County for future generations.”
During the Library’s monthly digitization days, residents are encouraged to add their family’s most prized possessions to the Library System’s catalog. Whether these items are 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; or something uniquely your own, the Library would be pleased to add the memory to their growing collection. All events take place from 1-3 p.m.
- March 23, at SCLSNJ’s Somerville Library branch, located at 35 West End Avenue in Somerville. For more: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/596162.
- April 13, at SCLSNJ’s Warren Twp. Library branch, located at 42 Mountain Boulevard in Warren Twp. For more: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/596164.
- May 18, at SCLSNJ’s Peapack & Gladstone Library branch, located at the Municipal Complex on School Street in Peapack. For more: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/596166.
- June 15, at SCLSNJ’s Watchung Library branch, located at 12 Stirling Road in Watchung. For more: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/596168.
“Last year was a great start to our NEH grant-supported initiative,” said Rebecca Sandoval Sloat, grant coordinator and SCLSNJ technical services manager. “We had seven pairings of historical programs with digitization events where members of our community brought in their artifacts. In 2019, we are partnering with local veteran groups and holding events at our branches in the spring. Share your history as we continue our efforts to build Somerset County’s memory.”
In addition to the digitization days, the Library System will offer a historical program series spanning from March to June. The program series will explore farming, jewelry, the history of the Library System, and more.
“SCLSNJ is excited to offer an exciting lineup for the 2019 portion of the NEH grant series,” said Ken Kaufman, adult services librarian at SCLSNJ’s Bridgewater Library branch. “The programs will touch upon the County’s agricultural past, suburban transitions, and continued resilience. The showing of the film, ‘Farming in the Millstone Valley’ on April 18 and June 3, is a perfect capstone of these themes.”
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.
- March 21, 7 – 8:30 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s Somerville Library branch, located at 35 West End Avenue in Somerville. Register: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/1391469.
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: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/606861.
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: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/912846.
- 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: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/951568.
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: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/1391600.
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.
- June 12, 7-8:30 p.m. at SCLSNJ’s Watchung Library branch, located at 12 Stirling Road in Watchung. Register: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/618379.
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.
For more visit: SCLSNJ.org/NEH.