Thursday, May 8, 1997

Library Company of Burlington

The Library Company of Burlington is the second oldest public library in New Jersey, and the seventh oldest in the nation. It has operated continuously since 1758, when it was chartered by King George II of England. The Library was the first to print a catalogue, also in 1758. Most of its original 700 volumes were gifts from prominent residents.

The collection was originally housed in the parlor of Thomas Rodman's house at 446 High Street, and moved in 1767 to Robert Smith's house at 218 High Street. In 1789, Captain Joseph Bloomfield donated a piece of land on a small street near his mansion (now known as Library Street) and a small building was constructed to house the collection - the first library building in New Jersey.

The large stone building at 23 West Union Street which currently houses the Library was built in 1864, and expanded in the 1900's. The Library's collection includes a few thousand antiquarian books, hundreds of which were included in the original 1758 catalogue. More than 250 of these original books, some published as early as the 1550's, have been cleaned and stored in special archival boxes at the Library.

In addition to being historically significant, the Library offers the services modern patrons have come to expect, including a collection of over 45,000 circulating materials, computerized indexing and reservation of 750,000 more through the Burlington Libraries Information Consortium (BLINC), magazines, videos, and access to CD-ROM reference materials, the Internet, and educational computer games. The Library also hosts special events, ranging from children's programs to plays, seminars, and movies.

For more information, call the Library at (609) 386-1273.

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