We welcome researchers to the Plainfield Room. Hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday and appointments are strongly recommended for long-distance visitors. There is no charge for appointments; the process is only to ensure access and service; some rare or fragile materials are available by appointment only. Please call (908) 757-1111 ext. 136 to schedule an appointment.
Directions to the library can be found here.
Free parking is available in a front lot on West Eighth Street, a rear lot on West Ninth Street, free street parking on Park Avenue and on bordering College Place, a one-way street running south to north.
The Plainfield Room (left) is located on the lower level of the building. Stairs and an elevator can be found to the immediate left inside the main entrance. Opposite them are the public restrooms for adults. After reaching the lower level, proceed past the Young People’s Room on your right, go through the double glass doors, and enter the pool area. The Plainfield Room is Room 8, diagonally opposite this entrance.
You will be asked to stow any bags and cases in cabinets within the Plainfield Room. Because the temperature is sometimes cool you may want to bring an additional layer of clothing for comfort.
Laptops and tablets are welcome, but power sources are only available by arrangement, to researchers with appointments.
Wireless internet is available.
Pencils are the only permitted writing implement. In some cases you may be provided with gloves when using archival materials.
There are three public computers and one microfilm reader/printer available in the Plainfield Room.
Photocopies are made by staff members. Costs are outlined here. It is possible to pay by cash or credit card. The use of cameras, phones, and scanners is not permitted.
Researchers working with Courier News microfilm will find the collection available on the main floor of the library. Copies there cost 20¢ exact change. Please consult the Reference Department at 908 757-1111, extension 112, for confirmation of availability.
Most research materials are kept in an adjoining, climate-controlled archive. Items may be requested in advance or during the visit and will be brought to the Plainfield Room.
A list of area eating establishments is available upon request.
Packed lunches may be eaten in Room 2 when that room is not in use. The room is not available when classes are held there. Room 2 is unavailable due to interior renovations until further notice.
Many of our resources now have indexes posted on the department website here that can be reviewed in advance of a visit.
Coverage within the collection is primarily of Plainfield, with additional coverage of the surrounding area. Specific coverage of city directories is outlined here. The Courier News tends to cover Plainfield and its surrounding communities, eastern Somerset County, and northern Hunterdon County, while the other local newspapers have a greater concentration on Plainfield. Generally, coverage of South Plainfield is less than that of the other surrounding communities.
Researchers investigating a person who is known to have been born in Plainfield should be aware that because the only area hospital at one time was in Plainfield, many babies were born here whose families were not Plainfield residents.
The collection offers resources broadly available, such as access to Ancestry LibraryEdition, resources less-widely available, such as the New Jersey State Census for the area, outlined here, and some unique materials. Many of the unique records and collections are identified through the Archival Collections Index, here, and within the library catalog, here, but additional items are available to researchers with appointments working with library staff.