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Cherry Hill Public Library

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Title: Cherry Hill Public Library  
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Subject: Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Coffins Corner, New Jersey, David Ascalon
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Cherry Hill Public Library

The Cherry Hill Public Library in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, United States is a Township's owned municipal building. The Library is overseen by the Library Board of Trustees and run by The Library Director. Originally called The Cherry Hill Free Public Library, the word "Free" was dropped from the title in 2003. The current library building was completed in December 2004 to replace a 1966 structure just northeast of the same location. In old aerial images of the area, the double-diamonds with the brown roof structure and grassy lot are the old Library before demolition. The pad to the southwest of the old library was the site of Richman's Ice Cream before its demolition; and this site has become the site of the new Library building.

At 72,000 square feet (6,700 m2), Cherry Hill's newest library is among the largest municipal libraries in South Jersey.

Facility history

Originally located in a storefront at Ellisburg Circle Shopping Center (at Route 70 and Route 41-Kings Highway), in the current location spanning both the Post Office and Blockbuster Video, the Cherry Hill Free Public Library moved 1/4 mile northeast in 1966 into a building at 1100 Kings Highway North. The then-futuristic building, designed by architect Malcolm Wells, incorporated unusual design elements, including the cataloguing and administrative offices located in its massive concrete bunker basement, concealed from public view. By the late 1990s, the Wells building was deemed by the Board to be overcrowded, difficult to maintain due to roof leaks and other infrastructure problems, and too expensive to expand, notably due to a lack of parking; so the Library Board of Directors commissioned a new design.

Groundbreaking for the new Library was in December 2003 on the former Richman's Ice Cream site, which adjoins the southwestern edge of the former Library site; with the Wells building then being demolished to expand the parking area.

While the new library building was constructed, Cherry Hill Library members were served via interlibrary agreements by libraries in neighboring Moorestown and Haddonfield.


Membership currently stands at about 67,000 cardholders with roughly 97% of members indicating Cherry Hill residency. Residents subscribe to the library free of charge and access the collection of more than 150,000 volumes, 150 computers with high-speed internet connectivity, and the library's various amenities including a cafe, conference center, art gallery, historical artifact room, meeting, and reading spaces.

Friends of the Cherry Hill Library

The library is partially supported by the non-profit agency 'Friends of the Cherry Hill Library.' The Friends organizes various fundraising efforts and public awareness campaigns to benefit the Library, and members of the group volunteer time for library operations and events.

Book tile wall

The lobby of the new Library is adorned with hundreds of ceramic tiles in the form of book spines, arranged in a shelf configuration and numbered in order of purchase. This fundraiser is based on a similar fundraising project at Noel Wien Public Library in Fairbanks, Alaska; and was brought to the new Library by longtime Board member Kathleen Schwartz after her visiting the Fairbanks facility in the summer of 2003. Tile number 1 was dedicated to local property management firm Needleman Associates to honor their longtime support of the Library, including their providing overflow parking. Tile number 2 is dedicated to Mrs. Schwartz, who worked as a Library cataloguer in the 1960s, and who had been on the Library Board of Directors from 1973 until 2009 as its longest-serving member.

"Sunday Morning" sculpture

In 2007, the Friends of the Library announced the completion of fundraising efforts to retain the loaned sculpture, "Sunday Morning" by J Seward Johnson, Jr, which rests on the library's front lawn near the building's main entrance.

"Totem" sculpture

In 2009, the Friends of the Library acquired the loaned sculpture, "Totem" by the artist David Ascalon, a long-time Cherry Hill resident. On September 24, 2009, the sculpture was permanently installed to the building's front lawn, marking the second major sculpture acquisition by the Friends of the Library.

September 24, 2009 installation of David Ascalon's "Totem" at the Cherry Hill Public Library

External links

  • Cherry Hill Free Public Library Official Website
  • Cherry Hill library's overlooked sculpture to move center stage
  • Noel Wien Public Library, Fairbanks, Alaska Book Tile Project

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