The Clara Barton community held a protest in efforts to stop plans to relocate the Clara Barton Public Library to a location a block away across from the former Stewart’s Hot Dogs on Amboy Avenue.
Community members expressed they haven’t been involved in the proposed decision at a Township Council meeting on December 28 and again at a protest in front of the library on Jan. 3.
Council President Joe Coyle, Council members Richard Brescher and John Poyner, and Board of Education member Mohin Patel attended the protest.
Some of the community members held up signs that read: “Save Our Library,” “Don’t Pack The Books,” “Don’t Move Our Library – Unfair!! Unnecessary!! Underserves!!” and “Joshi decides and we go along?? No! Not How it Works, Sam! You work for all of us Mayor! Don’t Move Our Library.”
In a social media post on Dec. 22, 2022 the Edison Public Library shared Mayor Sam Joshi, in-person, notified the Library Board in September that the Clara Barton Branch would need to relocate to make way for a new Special Needs Recreation Center.
“It saddens us to leave our home, but we recognize the need for change,” the Edison Public Library said in the post.
The library at 141 Hoover Ave. has been part of the Clara Barton neighborhood since 1932, according to the post.
“We have no intention of leaving the area and are currently working with the township to secure a new location nearby so we can continue to serve the Clara Barton community for many years to come.”
In the post, it said the library was informed it must vacate the building by Jan. 6 to make way for the center. The last day of public service for the community was set for Dec. 29, 2022.
As of the morning of Jan. 3, the Clara Barton Public Library is still open for service. A poster about the relocation is taped on the wall.
“The Clara Barton Branch of our library system is moving to an easily accessible and convenient retail location on Amboy Avenue,” Joshi announced on the poster. “My administration is eager and excited to transform this facility into a Special Needs Programming and Recreation Center.”
When asked about the relocation at a council meeting in December, Edison Business Administrator Sonia Alves-Viveiros said they were figuring out how to retrofit the library into the new location.
Residents said they were not opposed to a building for special needs programing. They called for a plan that would cater to the residents who would like to keep the Clara Barton Library in its location and for the special needs programming.
The next Library Board of Trustees board meeting is set for 7 p.m. Jan. 10 at the Edison Main Library, 340 Plainfield Ave.
Joshi has called a meeting with the community about the proposed move at 7 p.m. Jan. 12 at the Clara Barton Library.