HONORING A CARNEGIE

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Andrew Carnegie funded the 
construction of the Belleville 
Public Library & Information 
Center in 1911, one of 1,681 
Carnegie Libraries across 
America.

The Carnegie Room, dating 
from 1911, and the Stacks 
Area, built in 1929 were 
in need of much plaster repair 
and the restoration of their 
original decorative elements. 
Dropped ceilings, air 
conditioning ducts and 
flourescent lighting from the 
early 1970's, had masked 
the full extent of water damage 
to ceilings and upper walls in 
both spaces.

Once repairs were made and 
systems were upgraded, the 
installation of architectural 
elements - columns, pilasters, 
arches and a grand pediment, 
to remind us of Belleville's 
original Carnegie Library 
exterior - gave a classical 
foundation to the new design. 
With faux block on the walls
of the Carnegie Room and 
faux marble finishes applied, 
the results set a glorious new 
standard for public library 
designs in the 1990's.

Contemporary lighting, a 
state-of-the-art library 
automation system, custom 
furnishings and carpeting 
as well as the dramatic tale of 
a young man's search for 
wisdom - contained in the 
ceiling art in the Carnegie 
Room - combine in a timeless 
new public space for Belleville.

The Library has honored the 
original gift of Andrew Carnegie. 
This transformation of the 
Carnegie Library interior also 
honors the gift of Miss Helen 
Van Brunt of Belleville, whose 
bequest to the Library funded 
most of these renovations. 
The interior designs of 
James J. Cozzarelli, Jr.,  (Seen left)
Library Board Trustee, 
can be seen throughout 
the Library. His redesign of 
the Carnegie Room is his 
greatest gift to our Library
and to Belleville, New Jersey.
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