Roxbury Public Library
The Free Public Library of the Township of Roxbury is the community’s connection to learning and discovery.
We envision the Roxbury Public Library to be the center of community life and an essential destination that provides both new and traditional library services to residents of all ages and backgrounds. We will strive to serve as the community’s gateway to the dynamic global network of information resources by providing:
- Free and accessible services and resources that strengthen, connect, and enrich our increasingly diverse community.
- Programs for all ages that encourage literacy, love of reading, and cultural enrichment.
- A community meeting place that fosters the exchange of ideas.
- Technologies that include equipment and essential training for the public to fully utilize electronic resources.
- A respectful, flexible, and knowledgeable staff that will provide professional assistance to library patrons by finding, evaluating, and delivering resources from our collection and the collections of other libraries through resource sharing.
- A welcoming, comfortable, and well maintained facility
We place great value in:
- Freedom of information.
- A high standard of customer service.
- Equal access to a varied and timely collection of resources that reflects the needs and desires of the community.
- Integrity as the foundation of the actions of the Board of Trustees and the staff.
- Fiscal responsibility.
Formation of the Roxbury Public Library was begun in 1959 as a project of the Roxbury Woman’s Club and the Certificate of Incorporation of the Roxbury Public Library Association was filed and recorded on May 6, 1960. The members of the club were the catalyst behind the formation of the Roxbury Library Association and the opening of the Library on February 20, 1961. The first library building was the former home of Theodore Frelinghuysen and Queen Anne Cottage, constructed for Dr. Wolfe, his wife Gertrude Franklin Wolfe and their only child, one year old Mary, in 1887.
In November of 1968 the residents of Roxbury voted to municipalize their Library. By 1971 the “library in the house” was bursting at the seams with books, structurally unsound, and too small to meet the needs of a rapidly growing community. A bequest from local author Mary Wolfe Thompson and funding from the Township enabled the first part of the current building to be erected on property behind the house. This new Library building was dedicated on September 8, 1974.
Since that time the Library has expanded twice. The first addition in 1983 provided additional space for adult and children’s materials. The second addition, which was completed in the summer of 1993, provided much-needed quiet study space, increased seating, an expanded Reference Department, an improved check-out area, a computer resources center, a periodical reading room, and a small meeting room. In addition, the exterior of the building was modified to harmonize with the other buildings in the Main Street Historic District. A new landscape design was donated by Al Wartman, a Roxbury resident and nurseryman; flowers and shrubs have been planted and are being maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers. With this latest addition, the Library was expanded to 13,596 square feet and extensively renovated with funds from bequests and donations – tax dollars were not used.
The Library is now almost five times bigger than it was when it started, but those who look carefully will find stained glass from the original building hanging in the reading room, and pieces of gingerbread from that first Library in the Queen Anne Summerhouse in the front yard. Likewise, the Library’s impetus to service remains the same — new or refurbished spaces, and computers in place of paper, are just improved tools for its ongoing goal of providing information and serving as a community center for educational, literary, and cultural activities.
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