Have you noticed the old front door as you enter the Hoboken Public Library? The Friends of the Hoboken Library have, and we hope to do something about it. This year, funds raised by our fabulous Novel Night event, to be held on Oct. 13, 2012, will be targeted towards the purchase of a new entry way, one that is befitting the beautiful and historic building.
Information on purchasing tickets to Novel Night is available on our website, www.hobokenfol.org/novelnight.html. Please note that reservations must be made by Sept. 25.
We certainly hope you’ll attend Novel Night, and enjoy an evening of delicious food and friendly conversation in lovely Hoboken homes. It’s an easy, fun way to make a contribution to the library. However, those funds alone will not suffice to purchase a new door—and you don’t have to attend Novel Night (though we certainly hope you will) to assist with this important project. Please consider making a separate or additional contribution to the door fund. A brochure with a donation form will be available at the library soon or you can go immediately to our website and use PayPal. Any contribution will be greatly appreciated, and you’ll be able to see the result every time you enter the library.
Founded in 1986, the Friends are a group of volunteers that works to assist and support the library—funding items not covered by the library budget, publicizing library events, sponsoring a variety of programs and more. Last year, for instance, the group donated $5,000 to fund the recently concluded season of the library’s First Saturday programs for families, usually held on the first Saturday of each month; we look forward to supporting the next season, starting in October, as well.
We also purchase museum memberships that provide passes that can be checked out of the library—just like books. Thanks to these memberships, library patrons and their children can visit The American Museum of Natural History, The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, The Frick Collection, the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, and The New-York Historical Society. Ask a library staff member for more information about these passes—and enjoy your visits.
One of the Friends’ most popular programs is English as a Second Language classes for adults who wish to improve their conversational skills. A recent Library Corner provided more information about this program; hope you saw it. The Friends also co-sponsor, with the Hoboken Historical Museum, the “Vanishing Hoboken” oral history project. Launched in 2000, the project records interviews with Hobokenites who speak to the richness of our city’s history. To date, dozens of long-time residents, workers, store owners and others have shared their stories, with all interview transcripts on file in the library’s historical collection. In addition, 23 chapbooks (small booklets), based on some of the interviews, have been published; the next will be released on Sept. 30 at 4 p.m. at the museum, 1301 Hudson St., at a free event.
In an effort to encourage reading by the young residents of Hoboken Housing Authority buildings, the Friends, in conjunction with Carmelo Garcia, executive director of the Hoboken Housing Authority, and Luis Acevedo, Ross/Resident Services Coordinator, have opened a “Book Corner” in the community room of 311 Harrison St. Part of Project Read-a-Book, it is intended to be a steppingstone to use of the Hoboken Public Library, and it features informational displays about library programs and resources in addition to the books.
The library’s historical collection has long been of special interest to the Friends. One of the group’s earliest efforts brought in a $25,000 grant to help preserve old documents. In addition, the group funded the printing of numerous old negatives in the library’s collection, financed the restoration of old prints and art work, and purchased microfilmed copies of Hoboken City Directories from 1867 to 1900. More recently, we’ve purchased “clamshell” binders to safeguard fragile historic materials.
The Friends also sponsor special programs and support the library in a variety of other ways, having purchased computers and furniture, including that in the Young Adult Room. The group began and maintains the Hoboken Sounds CD collection, featuring the works of local musicians (though Frank Sinatra has a section of his own under library management).
Won’t you join us? Dues have not been raised for 25 years, and joining must be the best bargain in town! Membership dues and donations help support the organization’s efforts, as do a number of book sales throughout the year. For more information, to join the group and/or assist with any of the activities mentioned in this column, go to www.hobokenfol.org (you can print out a membership form or join online using Pay Pal) or visit the Library at 500 Park Ave. to pick up a copy of “FOOTNOTES,” the Friends’ newsletter, which contains a membership form.