The Hoboken Public Library was established under the NJ General Library Act of 1884. It was the third library established under this act, following behind Paterson and Newark.
A brief time line follows:
5 September 1888: Meeting of City Council at which Edward Stanton made a resolution calling for a charter election for a Library.
November Election: citizens overwhelmingly approve Library Charter 9 April 1889
Funded by a tax of one-third of a mill on each dollar of assessed value
Board appointed by Mayor August Grassman. On 14 June 1889, first meeting of Trustees took place.
15 October 1889 Certificate of Incorporation accepted at Board meeting.
Library opened on 2 October 1890 in the basement of the Second National Bank Building with 3500 volumes on the shelves. ( A future survey will determine how many of those volumes are still a part of the collection.) The cost of the books at that time was $3,247.76.
The quarters in the Second National Bank basement soon proved inadequate.
Through a competitive process, architectural plans were submitted and reviewed. The firm awarded the contract was Albert Beyer. Other competing firms were George M. Pollard and Mowbray & Uffinger.
26 November 1895 - Final plans and specs for new building accepted and adopted. A notice to builders was printed in The Observer.
Sealed bids were accepted initial 23 December 1895, addressed to the Board of Trustees at the Office of the Librarian. The plans were open to inspection at the Librarian's Office or at Architect Beyer's Office at the 2nd National Bank Building.
Separate proposals were required for: Bids Received
Mason Work 12
Electric Light 3
Lighting Bids were rejected and the contract was rebid.
January 1896 - Mrs. Martha B. Stevens delivered to James Minturn, Corporate Attorney for the City, the deed conveying the site.
25 February 1896 - Contracts awarded.
A request was made to the Mayor and Council to issue bonds (under the law of 1893) in the amount of $50,000 to cover the building cost.
14 April 1896 - Cornerstone was laid. It was to include all printed forms, paper, and documents used in the library.
30 June 1896 - A. Beyer notifies the Trustees that the Manufacturer of Plastic Roofing retired. Beyer requested that the style of roof be changed from the original plan.
(This explains the tar paper roof which presently adorns the building.)
31 March 1897 - Trustees surrender their offices in the Second National Bank Building.
1 April 1897 - Old Library closes.
5 April 1897 - New Building opens.
The Hoboken Public Library held its First Book Festival at the Library and in Church Square Park on June 8, 2013. To learn more click here.
The Second Hoboken Public Library Book Festival occured on
June 13, 2015. To Learn More Click here.