The main building of the Hoboken Public Library at 500 Park Ave. will close for about four weeks starting on July 10 to continue its renovations.
The library, established under the NJ General Library Act of 1884, was the third library established under this act, following Paterson and Newark.
It officially opened in October of 1890 in the basement of the Second National Bank Building, with 3,500 volumes on the shelves.
The main building seen today opened on April 5, 1897 after the Stevens family donated the deed to the land it currently sits on.
But a library built in the 19th Century can not easily meet the needs of a 21st Century community, according to board trustees and former director Lina Podles.
The main library has been undergoing staged renovations to make it safer, more comfortable, and more suited to the community while maintaining its historic elements.
Planning for the renovations began in 2007, and residents have seen some of the results.
In 2018, the library unveiled the renovation of its basement with the new programming space divided into two rooms, one large and one small. The rooms can hold a combined 180 people.
The renovation included a garden space with tables for reading, accessed through the small programming room.
Kids and young adults
The latest stage has moved to the third floor, with a gut-renovation to create the Children’s and Teen/Tween Departments, which will incorporate energy-efficient lighting and new furnishings.
The Young Adult area that had temporarily been housed there was moved to the branch at 124 Grand St. where the hours have been extended on most weekdays, closing at 6 p.m.
The library must temporarily close so that construction crews can replace the building’s antiquated HVAC system and make other necessary repairs.
“One of the major challenges of a century-old building is keeping it warm in the winter, and comfortable in the summer,” said Hoboken Public Library Interim Director Rosary Van Ingen. “The current air conditioning system, installed many decades ago, was not equal to the task. Accordingly, a new, high-efficiency HVAC system, featuring HEPA filtering, is being installed. As to heat, we are still using the original – from 1897 – furnace that was converted from coal to gas. It’s massive and massively inefficient, so we are replacing that, too.”
The HVAC component involves removing and replacing the furnace and all associated pipes and conduits, installing new ductwork, and repositioning various walls.
Though the building will be physically closed, services won’t cease.
Customers can order materials via the Library’s online catalog, and pick them up at the Library’s Curbside Pickup Station, by using the 24/7 Self-Service Lockers outside the Main Library, as well as the branch at 124 Grand Street.
The Library’s programming for adults, teens, and children will continue and can be found at www.HobokenLibrary.org.
In-person events will be held in Church Square Park across Fifth Street from the Library or at other locations.
To keep apprised of renovations and service changes, go to www.HobokenLibrary.org/renovation.
For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.