Spotswood Library’s history spans more than just 80 years

Patrons check out a large selection of reading material at the book sale sponsored by the Friends of the Colts Neck Library on March18

Staff Writer

SPOTSWOOD What started in a room at a house eight decades ago stands today as a recognized educational pillar for residents.

The Spotswood Public Library is celebrating its 80th anniversary by providing movie nights, displays and other activities during April.

“Our anniversary events start in April and will continue through next April when we will also be celebrating 45 years in our current building. In April, we will be showing movies each Friday that are either set in 1937 or produced in 1937. In June, we will have a big kickoff for summer reading. We are also planning several displays related to 1937, a bookmark contest, an altered book contest and many other activities,” said C.L. Quillen, the Spotswood Public Library’s director.

The library’s history dates back to 1784 when the Leonard Appleby House was built, which eventually became the Community House that turned into the Spotswood’s Public Library, according to Quillen.

Prior to 1923, Spotswood had limited library services and most residents were not aware of the library or that it was free to use until it was turned over to the Board of Education to run in 1937, according to Quillen.

On Sept. 21, 1970, the Community House was condemned by the insurance company and temporarily reopened in a former knitting mill located at 74 Snowhill St. Then the Community House burned down on July 26, 1971, with arson being the suspected cause, according to Quillen.

In 1973, the construction of the DeVoe Memorial Library began on the site of the Community House. On Dec. 2, 1973, the DeVoe Memorial Library, now known as the Spotswood Public Library, opened at its current location at 548 Main St.

Having been the Spotswood Public Library’s director since May 2014, Quillen says she is excited to be able to be here to help commemorate the library’s 80th year of being in service.

“The Spotswood Library is the heart of the community and though we are small compared to some of our neighbors, we do an amazing job of providing services to the community. In the past two years, we have renovated the interior to make the environment more friendly and welcoming. We have a fabulous staff who are happy to help with anything our customers need [from] assistance with resumes and job searching, medical information, or finding something new to read after they’ve finished every book by James Patterson,” Quillen said.

The library offers several storytime programs each week for children from birth to second grade and recently started a weekly “tween scene” program for children in grades three to five, according to Quillen.

“With support from the Friends of the Library, we offer a weekly adult movie matinee, a monthly adult craft program, and various lectures and events. We recently added Universal Class to our offerings: through that service our cardholders can take over 500 different online classes in a wide variety of subjects including computers, bookkeeping, medical billing, cooking and aromatherapy,” Quillen said. “As a member of [the] Libraries of Middlesex Automation Consortium, we’re able to provide our customers with access to millions of books and movies, downloadable ebooks, digital magazines and streaming movies and music.”

For more information on the library’s upcoming anniversary events and activities, visit or call 732-251-1515.

Contact Vashti Harris at

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