North Jersey Heritage Center - FDU Metropolitan Campus

Lib North Jersey Heritage HALF



On October 8, 2006 an important library of documents, manuscripts, and books is reopening. A unique opportunity emerged from an ‘exchange’ of space between Weiner Library and the FDU Copy Center to “renovate” the comprehensive New Jersey Collections of the university. The most important components of the collection include New Jersey Documents, New Jersey manuscripts, and the Jerseyana collection of books, newspapers, maps, and reference works. Additional manuscript holdings include early FDU records, the archive of the International Association of University Professors, and, eventually, the FDU Archives.

The new facility will be known as the North Jersey Heritage Center, a designation intended to signal focus, not exclusion. It is housed primarily in rooms vacated by the former Copy Center at 10 Woodridge Avenue on the edge of the campus in Hackensack

Historical Note

Beginning in 1961, FDU became an early participant in the New Jersey Documents program, listed fourth and receiving copy #9 after the Council of State Governments (3 copies), Rutgers (3), and the NJ State Library (2), a remarkable status considering the 80 recipients/ depositories. By the late 1980s Catharine M. Fogarty, New Jersey Room Librarian at the Rutherforld campus, gathered one of the most comprehensive New Jerseyana collections anywhere. It was an outstanding information base on New Jersey history, social and economic conditions, politics, and government.

At the time of the closing of the Rutherford campus most of the collection was moved to the Teaneck-Hackensack facilities, largely at the initiative of Maria Kocylowsky, now serving as head of the Business Research Library and New Jersey Collection. In 1994 the rare and valuable books and maps were secured in a room in Weiner Library and the file cabinets and other items were placed “in storage” in Dickinson Hall. This stored material—about half the total—essentially has been unavailable for more than ten years. Some items were taken to the library at the Madison-Florham campus. Reorganizing the entire collection, adding new acquisitions, and making them all available is an important event for the Library, the University, and the region.

 

The Collections

New Jersey Reference

Most of this current and well-used collection of reference materials has been gathered in the Business Research (and New Jersey) Library (BRL) in Dickinson Hall. The approximately 500 volumes includes atlases, dictionaries, guides, handbooks, and similar materials.

New Jersey Documents

This well-maintained and current collection is located primarily in the BRL. It includes 6000 titles, some of which are multi-volume.

New Jersey Collection

The New Jersey Collection includes a good number of books published before 1900, historical maps, other valuable books, and the manuscript collection. There are approximately 370 linear feet of NJ documents. Only some of this material is cataloged. Approximately 14,000 volumes (many of which are one of a kind), include documents, pamphlets, maps, and other materials. An estimated 376 maps comprise a valued part of this collection.

Sammartino Collection

Many of the papers of Peter Sammartino, founder and first president of FDU, along with papers of his wife and active leader Sally, reside in 65 drawers in 18 file cabinets covering 1942 until the 1980s. These papers have not been separated from records of the early years of the university. Another several dozen boxes of his papers have been processed and filed for preservation in the Sammartino Room in the College at Florham Library by volunteer archivist Evelyn Katz. She has performed this work for 14 years as a labor of love. These papers include materials from the New York Culture Center, another venture of the entrepreneurial leader.

Other Special Holdings

A unique feature within the New Jersey collection is the Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission (HDMC) material; FDU has been a quasi-depository. These documents contain stages of the master plan, zoning regulations, administrative decisions, annual reports, ecological investigations, traffic patterns, and environmental impact studies. Many of the materials are one of a kind item easily susceptible to loss or theft.  Consequently, the collection is open by appointment. The staff of HDMC often refers both scholars and the public to the FDU Meadowlands holdings as well as other historic information, especially concerning the northern region of the state.

The New Jersey Historical Collection is searchable in the Library catalog. Where possible, materials circulate through existing inter-library loan channels.  Reference sources and rare documents can be used on site only. The FDU Website makes the Library catalog accessible to anyone in the world with access to the internet.

Other valuable holdings include NY-NJ Port Authority materials.  FDU was a “quasi-depository” and holds copies of many of those documents. Their value may have increased after the destruction of the PA holdings in the World Trade Cengter on 9/11/01. There are also some 376 single-sheet, significant, and historical maps and numerous atlases. An example is the collection of “10 Minute Topaquadrangle” maps produced by the federal government.

International Association of University Presidents

One of Peter Sammartino’s favorite projects was the development of this international association of university presidents. Recently, President J. Michael Adams revived FDU’s involvement with the association and won designation of FDU as depository for the organization’s Archives. Those papers, programs, and memorabilia are being collected from several of the former presidents and leaders of the group. Some dozens of boxes of materials are already gathered and processing has begun.

 

Implementation and Development

 

The goals for 2006-2007 are:

  1. Clean and paint the space acquired from the Copy Center at 10 Woodridge Avenue in Hackensack. Install shelving, both for books and the deeper shelving for archive boxes. Secure locks, fix leaks, and evaluate HVAC systems to assure security and basic environmental conditions for preservation.
  2. Arrange archival materials moved from the processing area of Weiner Library.
  3. Move the Jerseyanna Collections from Dickinson Hall to the new North Jersey Heritage Center (NoJHC) in this facility and reshelve.
  4. Move furniture being replaced in the BRL to NoJHC.
  5. Create signage, an entryway, and visible symbols for the new facility and designate visitor parking spaces.
  6. Establish regular hours (limited at first) the NoJHC will be open.
  7. Hold “opening ceremony.”
  8. Adopt, learn, and install an archival/ visual media software to better identify materials in various formats.
  9. Seek support, gifts, and grants for carpeting, equipment, additional collections, staffing, and program development.

NOTE: These arrangements are being adapted to take advantage of professional advice from academic archivists from Drew University.

Long Term Plans include:

  1. Create archive-standard environmentally controlled space for storage of the more valuable and unique books and manuscripts.
  2. Complete the cataloging of and prepare finding aids for materials in the collections.
  3. Create attractive work space for scholars and display area for visitors.
  4. Support the “certification” of FDU’s archivist. Richard Goerner is undertaking the challenge of making these collections available.
  5. Begin “records management” system for the university.
  6. Develop programming for FDU students and regional schools.
  7. Develop a plan to expand and enhance the collections
  8. Implement other plans, programs, and innovations as possibilities emerge from activities with the university, and from grants, projects, collaborations, and partnerships with agencies, corporations, and organizations with interests in the region.