Founded in 1927
The public library in Edison Township began in 1927, when a group of citizens established a small library in rented quarters. It was a store at the corner of Woodbridge Avenue and Thomasine Street, and the date was January 29, 1927. Under state law, this was called an association library, (“The Raritan Township Free Public Library Association”) but the goal was to have the township take on the responsibility for it. In November 1928, the voters of Raritan Township approved that idea, and on January 1 1929, the Free Public Library of Raritan Township came into existence.
The library stayed in the storefront for only a few years, moving down Woodbridge Avenue to the corner of Myrtle Street in 1931, and then in 1938 to the Municipal Building on Woodbridge Avenue and Plainfield Avenue.
When Raritan Township changed its name to Edison Township in 1954, the library subsequently changed its legal name to “the Board of Trustees of the Free Public Library of the Township of Edison, New Jersey.”
Main Library Opens in 1965
In 1959, the library moved into “temporary” space at 295 Plainfield Avenue (or 238, depending upon the source), near the intersection with Route 27, and finally into a new building at 340 Plainfield Avenue in 1965. That building was expanded in 1975 and 1987.
But there were other locations for public library services in town. By 1932, stations were created in the Clara Barton and the Oak Tree firehouses, and in 1937 in the Henry Street and Menlo Park firehouses. The Clara Barton station grew into a branch located in a former Lutheran church at 76 Pleasant Avenue. The property was purchased from Temple Emanu-el, and a new building was constructed in 1969, with renovations in 1971 and an addition in 2003.
North Edison Branch Opens in 1971
In 1962, the new John Adams Middle School made space for a small branch, until the North Edison branch opened in 1971 at 777 Grove Avenue. That branch, which took over the services provided at the Henry Street and Menlo Park firehouse, was expanded in 1979 and 1992.
Bookmobile Added in 1973
Bookmobile service was added in 1973. The first vehicle, based at the Main branch, served a variety of locations, until 1990, when it was replaced. The second bookmobile was decommissioned in 2017.
From a storefront with about 25 shelves of books and serving maybe 7500 people in one corner of the township, to three buildings and a bookmobile and a collection of over 300,000 items serving 100,000 residents, the Edison Township Public Library is a well-regarded civic institution that meets the needs of every resident that it encounters.
A map showing the locations of our branches over the years can be found here: Under Construction
A list of Head Librarians and Directors can be found here: Under Construction
A list of library trustees can be found here: Under Construction