The Hoboken Library and the vital service of its ‘Friends’
The Hoboken Public Library was built in 1894, and it was the third library created by the New Jersey General Library Act of 1864. The Friends of the Hoboken Public Library are proud to be a part of the library’s rich and vibrant history since the group’s inception in the 1980s. We are committed community members who volunteer, support, and expand what the public library offers to children, teenagers, and adults.
Virgina (Ginny) Vogl, who was the library director from 1985-1989, invited a small group of users together to form the Friends to provide support for the library. At the time, the Friends of Hoboken Public Library was the first group of its kind in the area. The first three presidents were Phil Leonhard-Spark, Ruth Regnis, and Jeanne Becker.
In the beginning, their primary sources of fundraising were dues and proceeds from two spring and two fall book sales, which totaled more than $1,000. More than 1,000 books were on sale at the first book sale/fundraiser held in 1986 in Church Square Park. The prices were between 50 cents and $1.50 (More than twenty years later, the prices have remained relatively the same).
In 1988, the Friends helped sponsor a book signing at the Library with author Anna Quindlen. In 1989, the Friends was named the “Best in New Jersey” by the NJ Library Association. The group donated an answering machine, archival preservation boxes, encyclopedias, and one children’s performance. They helped raise funds for the library’s renovation. The Friends also sponsored an Adult Literacy Program, a Holiday Celebration, The Giving Tree, and sold note cards.
An expanded role
In recent years, the Friends have achieved a much higher level of participation than in the beginning. We publicize the Library’s programs and raise funds for the Library’s special needs. The money that is raised has enabled the Library to purchase items not in their budget including new books, magazine subscriptions, computers, computer furniture, Young Adult Room furniture that were beyond its regular budget, and museum memberships.
The FOHL also provides free family passes to the American Museum of Natural History, The Frick Collection, The Paley Center for Media, The Museum of the City of New York, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, and The New York Historical Society. The Friends also donated the core startup collections of videos and DVD’s.
We sponsor a number of activities, including the English as a Second Language Conversation Program, book sales in the spring and fall, the “Vanishing Hoboken” oral history project, the Library’s First Saturday programs for families, and Novel Night. This year, Novel Night Vol. 3 will be held on Saturday, Oct. 16.
One of the FOHL’s greatest accomplishments has been the book themed Novel Night dinner/fundraiser, where community members gather in beautiful and elegant Hoboken homes. They enjoy the hospitality of gracious hosts, a lovely dinner, and the sharing of camaraderie while helping to support the Hoboken Public Library. Funds raised from this event support the preservation of fragile and valuable materials in the Hoboken Public Library’s historical collection.
Library growing with the city
Hoboken continues to grow in leaps and bounds, especially with so many young families with children, young professionals, and adults of all ages choosing Hoboken to be their permanent home. As a result of this, the number of people visits increased from 155,000 in 2008 to 217,000 visits in 2009, and the staff of the Hoboken Public Library has been doing a remarkable job in meeting the diverse needs and interests of the entire community.
With the increase in usage of the Hoboken Public Library, the FOHL foresees the possibility that in the future there may be a need for either another branch or an annex of the Library. FOHL also envisions and hopes that the library will receive the necessary funding for the renovations to the Hoboken Public Library. As the African proverb states: “It takes a village to raise a child” likewise, it takes a community to support, to enrich, to enliven, and to advocate for its public library.
We welcome more community support. Together we can help the Hoboken Public Library have all the necessary resources it needs to continue to meet the needs of the entire community and to be the best that it can be. If you want to join the Hoboken Friends of the Library, membership for one year is only $10. If you wish to become more involved, you can be a member of the board of the Friends of the Library. Check our website: www.hobokenfol.org and click on firstname.lastname@example.org on the website or check us out on Facebook.
A special thank you goes to the dedicated and hard working FOHL board which consists of: Co-Presidents: Marilyn Freiser and Roseann Rana; Vice President: Susan Moore; Treasurer: Ruth Charnes; Corresponding Secretary: Jane Klueger; Recording Secretary: Dawn Raffel; Members at Large: Allison Miyake, Melanie Best, Debbie Freeman, Tammy Freeman, Jean Callan, Maureen Cooke, Christine Jarmer, and Alexandra R. Brady; Ex Officio: Catherine Grace Hannibal, Dave Miyake, and Carol Wilson.
Another thank you to Roseann Rana, Jane Zeff, Jeanne Becker, and Tammy Freeman for their contributions for this article.
Library Hours Monday: 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Tuesday: 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Wednesday: 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Thursday: 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday: 11 a.m.-2 p.m..
Children’s Room and Young Adult Department Hours
Monday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday: 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Wednesday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday: 11 a.m.-2 p.m..
This column is brought to you by The Friends of the Hoboken Public Library, a non-profit group of volunteers dedicated to assisting the Library. For more information about the Friends and the activities we sponsor and to join the group, visit our website at www.hobokenfol.org. Membership brochures are also available at the Library.