Welcome to Union City Public Library! The Library is pleased to serve the residents of Union City and the public at large, regardless of residence.
The Main Library, which was incorporated in 1904, is a Carnegie Library built in 1905. The state-of-the-art Branch Library, 1800 Summit Avenue (at 18th Street) opened in 2004. The complex also houses the José Martí STEM Academy, a Union City public school. The Branch Library replaces the 15th Street Library, another Carnegie Library built in 1903, which now houses the Museum of the City of Union City.
The Union City Public Library Park, adjacent to the Main Library on 43rd Street, hosts a life-size cast-stone statue called Boy and Girl Reading (also known as Children Reading) created by the sculptor Enid Bell Palanchian (Enid Bell), circa 1936-1939. The sculpture was commissioned by the U.S. Treasury Art Project and is site number 79 on the New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail.
The library’s second floor features a large stained glass window in a keystone shape, created by artist Joseph Sloman in 1938. Sloman, who was born in 1883 in Philadelphia, was a Union City resident. He also installed stained glass artwork in churches in Hoboken, New York, Boston, and Athens, Georgia. The stained glass window depicts historic figures who were influential in industry, literature, science, fine arts, and music. At the bottom of the stained glass are etched these words: “Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.” This quote is from Francis Bacon’s 1625 essay, Of Studies.
Other artwork at the Main Library includes wooden carvings of the authors Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Mark Twain; Robert Fulton, developer of the steamboat; and composer Stephen Foster. The Longfellow and Twain carvings are signed “P. Beneduce, 1936.”