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More Than Just Books – The Need for Funding for the Renovation of the Perth Amboy Free Public Library

The Perth Amboy Free Public Library is more than just books. The entire library is widely utilized every day by patrons from surrounding towns as well as from Perth Amboy. As of the latest statistical study (completed in 2010 – I am certain that the numbers are even higher now) the Perth Amboy Free Public Library has over 13,000 adult patrons (ages 8th Grade & up) and over 12,500 child patrons (ages 7th Grade & lower).

The computers are utilized by over 150 to 200 patrons daily depending upon the hours that the library is open.

People utilize the Perth Amboy Free Public Library for a diverse amount of research purposes including genealogical research and preparing employment resumes.

The library has a collection of over 170,000 books available to the public plus a collection of children’s books. This collection includes traditional research materials such as periodicals and other reference materials such as microfilm and microfiche available for the public to utilize. The library has over 400 titles of magazines and newspapers accessible for the public to read. If a title of a book is not available, the staff can arrange an interlibrary loan. People from other libraries also borrow books from the Perth Amboy Library. A Perth Amboy Library Card is good for most surrounding libraries in the area.

The Perth Amboy Free Public Library receives frequent inquiries from national and international residents who desire local information.

The Children’s Library has frequent programs that many children participate in.

The Library is a historic building and an integral piece of Perth Amboy’s rich history.

A little history about the Perth Amboy Free Public Library: The Perth Amboy Free Public Library was built on its present site on Jefferson Street, in 1901, on land donated by J. C. Mc Coy, of the Raritan Copper Works and constructed with the aid of a $20,000 grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation, a $1,000 donation from Adolph Lewisohn to purchase new books, and an agreement by the City to provide for the Library’s upkeep.

On December 9, 1903, the building, the first in New Jersey to be the beneficiary of Mr. Carnegie’s generosity, was opened to the Public. The growth of the Library from that time was so marked, that in 1914, the Carnegie Corporation donated an additional $30,000 for the creation of two reading rooms. A Children’s Library was built in 1925, unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1977, and was not rebuilt. The present Children’s Library is located in the basement of the building, in an area formerly used as a meeting room and theatre.

This centrally located building now is in desperate need of renovation. There is a proposed $10 million dollar library renovation and expansion project. Presently after years of leaks the roof is finally receiving much needed repairs. Many more repairs are needed as well. The Library is a widely utilized and much needed facility for Perth Amboy.

The recently formed Friends of Perth Amboy Free Public Library have been raising funds for the Library’s renovation as have other organizations. The Library is still looking for an Angel Investor for this much needed project.

“Every act you have ever performed since the day you were born was because you wanted something. Aim for the highest and when it’s a question of God’s almighty spirit. Never say I can’t.” – Andrew Carnegie


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