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Rally for the Library, Named for Rocky Hill Hometown Girl Mary Barrowman Jacobs

By Barbara A. Preston | April 25, 2022

A large group of Mary Jacobs Memorial Library supporters attended a rally with music, food, speeches, and hot coffee on an unusually frigid spring day on Sunday, April 10. The crowd members ranged from a one-month-old baby to a 91-year-old senior citizen.

The Rocky Hill Library Task Force and the Rocky Hill Community Group sponsored the gathering. The purpose was “to celebrate and reaffirm our commitment to keeping library services in Rocky Hill,” said task force member Connie Hallman, who is also a former Rocky Hill Borough Council Member. “It was a huge success and was attended by approximately 100 people,” she said.

Rocky Hill Borough Council Member Susan Bristol spoke to the crowd, and personally thanked the Mary Jacobs Memorial Library Foundation for their work on the community’s behalf during the past 50 years.

Senator Andrew Zwicker (left) shook hands with Rocky Hill Mayor Bob Uhrik. Zwicker also addressed the crowd. The band, Owen Lake and the Tragic Loves, are under the red tent.

"This is part of our community. So, it’s important, to come out, as a community today, to say that this is so important that we have to make sure that we not only honor its history, but we make sure we put it on a path to a future [in which] it continues to be a community center.” — Senator Andrew Zwicker.

Borough council formed the Rocky Hill Library Task Force to seek and include public input from community leaders and library users about the future Mary Jacobs Memorial Library in Rocky Hill, according to Borough Council Member Bristol.

Mary Barrowman Jacobs grew up in Rocky Hill, and her husband donated money to endow a memorial charity in her hometown. At first he planned to build a church in her memory, but, in consultation with Rocky Hill leaders, it was decided that a library would better meet the community needs, since there were already many churches in the small town.

The Mary Jacobs Memorial Library Foundation has overseen the library trust for almost 50 years. See recent story titled: Mary Jacobs Library Turns a Page: Where Will the Plot Lead?

The Rocky Hill Library Task Force members are assisting the borough council in representing the needs and concerns of the residents of Rocky Hill, as the Somerset County Library System is moving to a new library about a mile away, in Montgomery Township, Bristol said. Though, there is a signed agreement to keep a mini pilot library in Rocky Hill for two years. The task force meets to discuss and research ideas for the future library, and encourages input from the larger community.

Task force members include: Rocky Hill Mayor Uhrik, Councilwoman Bristol, Council President Trey Delaney, Former Councilwoman Connie Hallman, Former Council President Irene Battaglia, Community Group Leader W.J. ‘Brad’ Bradhering, Former Rocky Hill Librarian Mei Mei Morris, Library and Archive Professional Tim Corlis, and English teacher Jess Kennedy Delahoy.

Rocky Hill residents Barbara Whitlock and Nancy Lucus at the rally.

The rally lasted a few hours, and included Terhune Orchard treats, (donated by a resident), bouquets of daffodils, and a talented local country band, Owen Lake and the Tragic Loves.

"The band performed admirably on a brisk afternoon, which is never easy," Task Force Member Hallman said. “It’s this spirit that defines Rocky Hill and the borough’s friends."

“The task force would like to thank The Montgomery News for covering the event, and also thanks the Rocky Hill Rescue squad, the Rocky Hill Fire Dept, and the NJ State Police for their support. We are grateful to everyone who contributed to make this a great day,” she said, on behalf of the Rocky Hill Library Task Force and the Rocky Hill Community Group.

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The Somerset County Library System will host an open house event on Thursday, April 28 from 10:30 am to 7:30 pm to celebrate the Mary Jacobs Library's past, present, and future. The public is invited to drop in at any time for refreshments and activities planned for children and adults. ■

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