The library is lodged in the former General John Freylinghuysen House. Originally built by an early Dutch settler in the 1700's, it has been a tavern, public meeting hall, jail, home and finally the library. Several additions have been added and the Federal style architecture appeared around 1810. Peter Freylinghuysen bought the property in 1970 and shortly thereafter donated it to the Borough of Raritan. In 1971 the building was placed on the National and New Jersey Register of Historic Places
See the light of wisdom shining on it? Wait, it gets better....
Here's a reading room:
Handmade reproduction period furniture makes it all cozy and inspirational. Somehow I imagine the Founding Fathers arguing over the grammar in the Declaration of Independence with a pint of ale (although the house in this form wasn't built until the 1780's).
Here's the children's room:
Now what kid wouldn't want to pick out a book and read it in the carriage, or at the tables, or near the fireplace?
And for the serious readers, look at these glorious stacks, packed with tomes of delight:
Need a break from reading? Meander upstairs to John Basilone room where you can see artifacts, documents, and photos of the decorated hero, and a even a small scale model of the USS John Basilone Destroyer.
If that's not enough to tempt you, the front reading room (there are bookshelves in every room!) is a cozy place to curl up with a book.
Director MaryJane Paese is one of the many helpful, friendly and knowledgeable people. This library offers a newsletter of events, staff picks, program descriptions and other information. There are crafting, knitting, yoga, family film and 1-on-1 computer classes, in addition to many special programs for children like a Lego party, storytime, and crafts. MaryJane and staff are working on expanding their Teen and Pre-Teen programs; they even have a teen blog: http://rpl.blogspot.com which will list new acquisitions, book discussion groups and other events. I will be there in mid-late May talking about Sirenz and Sirenz Back In Fashion, and answering writing/publishing questions. (Natalie is may be there as well, dependent upon schedule constraints).
Interested? Visit them at 54 East Somerset Street, Raritan, NJ, or hop over via www.raritanlibrary.org