Old Bridge Library celebrates 25 years of its central branch building


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OLD BRIDGE — When the Old Bridge Public Library opened its central branch building 25 years ago, the vision for the building was to make the space as open as possible, according to Art Haney, who was the township’s mayor at the time.

“We did not want to deal with knocking down walls with the change of times,” he said.

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To the delight of former township and library officials, their vision has allowed the library to enter the 21st century without a hitch and to continue to serve the community.

“We recognized back then that the library was for our future generations,” Haney said. “Today, the library services everyone from our youngest to our oldest.”

Haney, along with former Mayor Barbara Cannon, current Mayor Owen Henry, state Sen. Sam Thompson (R-Middlesex), Library Board President Frank Weber, Library Director Nancy Cohen, Township Council members, and former and current library board members, came together on May 19 to celebrate the branch’s 25th anniversary.

During the celebration, a time capsule filled with community items, which included newspaper clippings, photos, ribbons, calendars and program fliers, was buried in the garden on library grounds.

Cannon said 25 years ago was a time before the internet and with the support of the Township Council and Cohen’s willingness to always take a chance to try different things, the library is thriving.

“We could have a program with one or two people,” she said. “We just kept moving forward.”

Henry said that 25 years ago, the library was a different place than it is today with access to the entire world.

“Every year I have to appoint and reappoint stewards to the library board,” he said. “They have taken the library forward and made improvements. The library is bustling and is a staple of the community. I don’t think we can say Old Bridge without the library.”

Thompson said the development of technology available at the library has been tremendous for children and seniors.

During the ceremony, officials took turns shoveling dirt onto the time capsule, which is scheduled to be opened in 10 years.

The Old Bridge Library has been celebrating its central branch building with an array of programs, concerts and special events in May, many featuring a 1990s theme.

Cohen said the library staff has worked hard to develop interesting, entertaining and nostalgic programs to commemorate the library’s rich history.

“In addition to our regular array of classes, storytimes, concerts and lectures, we’ll be ‘supersizing’ our programming to include even greater offerings for all ages, and there will be many unique displays, decorations and giveaways to enjoy as we reminisce about the past 25 years,” she said.

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