Chester Library is the heart of our community. People of all ages and backgrounds visit the Library to connect with each other and feel part of Chester. Whether someone has recently moved to Chester or has been here for decades, they feel at home in the Library and enjoy visiting to meet their neighbors, participate in programs and events, and use the Library’s diverse resources.
At the Chester Library, we lend books, magazines, large print books, audiobooks, movies, music CDs, video games, museum passes, e-books, and downloadable audiobooks. We also offer a multitude of library programs for residents young and old.
Our staff will help you find the information you seek, either in person or by phone. Use our online catalog and online resources either in-person or from your home or office computer. With your Chester Library card, you have instant access to full-text periodical databases, research materials, literary criticism, language learning resources, and more. Additional databases are available in the Library.
The library has one large meeting room and 2 group study rooms that can be reserved by going here. Additionally, there is a quiet study room with study carrels for use by those patrons who need absolute quiet to study or work. There are many large tables and study carrels on the main floor of the library for your use as well.
Main Library Alliance
Chester Library is a member of Main Library Alliance, a nonprofit network of 49 public libraries located in Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset and Warren Counties. Main’s mission is to lead and encourage collaboration, resource sharing, staff development and innovation by providing high-quality, cost-effective shared services to member libraries for their communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and experiences within our network. As a member of Main, our patrons have access to over 3.1 million physical and digital items, including but not limited to eBooks, audiobooks, movies, music, games, and of course, books. Our library also participates in the NJ Open Borrowing program through Main, enabling patrons to borrow materials in-person from participating libraries outside the Main service area. Main maintains our libraries’ computer systems and hosts a system-wide mobile app for patrons. Main’s commitment to cutting-edge technology inspires our patrons to “Listen, Read and Learn,” enriching their lives. The partnership and cooperation of Main’s member libraries and supporters make this all possible.
The Chester Library was formally opened on Labor Day, September 4, 1911, in rented quarters ($4.00 per month) above a metal shoe-support factory on the corner of Main and Warren Streets. Though there was initial hope of having the Library open one afternoon and two evenings a week, the Library was open only on Saturdays, from 2:30-5:30 and 7:00-9:00 PM. In 1954 an additional evening was added. Hours were added gradually through the ’60′s, ’70′s and ’80′s, to bring Library service to its present total of 68 hours per week.
The Library moved from one rented place to another over the years. In 1922, it moved from the factory to the Drake house at what is today 127 Main Street. In 1957, it moved into the rear of 107 Main Street (corner of Hillside Avenue). For many years the post office was located in the front of this building. In 1964, the library moved again, this time into a Quonset hut adjacent to the Borough Municipal building, where it stayed until the present building was occupied in 1981.
In 2004 major renovations were completed which increased the library’s size to its current configuration. The Children’s Room was moved to the new section of the building. The Larison Program room was added, giving the library and the community a much needed public meeting room. The Larison Room, as well as 2 group study rooms are available to local non-profit groups. These rooms may be reserved with a Chester Library card either by calling the Library or by clicking on the Reserve A Meeting Room link in the Quick Links box.
Guaranteed funding for the Library did not come until the voters approved a referendum in 1975 making the Library “municipal.” Early records indicate that the Library began with an income of $165, and during the period of 1930-1947 operated on approximately $650 per year. The 2022 budget is $833,550.
In August 2011 the Library celebrated its centennial with an open house featuring speakers, music, performances and food. More than 300 residents participated in the day of celebration.
- Jean Farley – President
- Brian Theroux – Vice President & Borough Mayor’s Alternate
- Kathleen Torgersen – Treasurer
- Melissa Balzano – Secretary
- Mike Macias
- Heather Ronco
- Lynda Rybka
- Jacquelyn Tasker – Superintendent’s Representative
- Amanda Plescia – Twp. Mayor’s Alternate
The Board of Trustees generally meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 7:00 PM in the Larison Room.
Meeting dates for 2023
August 16 – optional meeting
January 17, 2024 – Annual reorganization meeting
- Lesley Karczewski – Director
- Terry Ferri – Assistant Director
- JoAnn Ullrich – Office Assistant/Bookkeeper
- MaryAnn Burden – Youth Services Librarian
- Kim Harwanko – Adult Programs / Library Communications
- Local History
- Diane Parsons – Library Assistant
- Mirta Ryan – Library Assistant
- Patti Lorenz – Library Assistant
- Lisa Ashnault – Library Assistant
- Renee Kenny – Library Assistant
- Fran Bermel – Library Assistant
- Ashley Gianni-Bradford – Library Assistant
- Sally Brander – Youth Services Library Assistant
- Andy Gau – Shelver
- Alex Blin – Page
- Lexie Pallis – Page
Year 2022 statistics
Hours of service: 3268
Registered borrowers: 6,816
Reference questions answered: 5,110
Material borrowed: 113,967
Attendance at programs: 5,209
Local tax support:
State Aid: $4,838