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East Brunswick will celebrate 50 years of reading

By VASHTI HARRIS
Staff Writer

EAST BRUNSWICK An established educational pillar for the past five decades, the East Brunswick Public Library will kick off its 50th anniversary celebration by hosting its first event in May.

To begin the library’s series of celebratory events, the Friends of the Library will  sponsor a ceremony at 12:30 p.m. May 7 at the library at 2 Jean Walling Civic Center Drive.

Throughout the afternoon, the library will host a petting zoo from Green Meadows Farm, feature an author event with bestselling novelist Stephanie Evanovich and provide refreshments and games, according to Chris Barnes, the library’s coordinator of marketing, communication and outreach.

The roots of the library began in 1965 through a library referendum. It was the third attempt, narrowly passing by a vote of 3,841 to 3,704. The original library was located in the municipal building. It first opened on May 1, 1967, with a collection of more than 10,000 books, according to Barnes.

However, the current library was not the first one in the township. The Alice Appleby Devoe Memorial Library was a small association library staffed by volunteers that opened in 1944. Once the municipal library was established, it became a library branch that served the community until 1981, Barnes said.

The library moved into its current home on April 11, 1976. That year it also became the first library statewide to use an online computerized circulation system.

The library has gone on to become one of the busiest and most innovative libraries in the area, thanks to programs like the “Just For The Health Of It” wellness initiative, the Business Resource Center, the Teen Library Connection and the National Passport office, according to Barnes.

The library will host a series of events throughout the spring and summer to celebrate its anniversary, ranging from a Star Wars event to author meet-and-greets.

“It’s an impressive milestone for us to celebrate. The anniversary has given us a chance to look back and see how we’ve evolved to meet the changing needs of the customers we serve. The modern library is more than just a place to borrow books, movies or music; we provide access to technology and information services, serve as a public event space and so much more. All of this was possible with the support of the community and the dedicated staff who have worked here over the years,” Barnes said.

For more information on the upcoming anniversary events, visit www.ebpl.org/main/ or call 732-390-6950.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.

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