To the Editors:
On behalf of the Monmouth County Library Commission, I wish to thank Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry, not only for her dedication as the liaison to the Library Commission, but also for her enthusiasm and commitment to the forward momentum of the Monmouth County Library System.
With Freeholder Burry’s support, many of the commission’s initiatives became reality over the past few years. The Lion’s Den Café opened at the Eastern Branch Library in Shrewsbury, and new informational highway signs were added outside Eastern Branch and Library Headquarters in Manalapan. Under her leadership, West Long Branch and Atlantic Highlands were added as new Library branches. With her diligence, the renovation of the Eastern Branch was completed. Through her efforts, an oversight finance committee was put in place to monitor the Library’s budgetary allocations.
2010 was indeed a banner year in many ways for the Library System, as the Library circulated almost 4 million items, and residents made more than 3 million visits. Serving our patrons are 174 library employees at 13 branches. The dedication of our library staff is the backbone of the Library’s success with services and programming.
2010 also saw a series of noted achievements for the Library. Our newly-expanded Teen and Young Adult Program held 149 programs for almost 3,000 teens in 2010. The program organized prom dress swaps and held Teen Cafes, a Mischief Night party, robotics workshops and Cool Science programs.
Seniors and adults were not forgotten, as the Library continued to be an exciting venue for free concerts, theatrical performances, author talks and movies.
2010 was also challenging. In this economy, the Library has become an even more vital part of our patrons’ lives – a true community center. The Library offers career services for the unemployed, computer classes, income tax preparation, English language classes – all free. The Library strives to continually add new electronic resources to its collection to serve its increasingly diverse population.
The Library’s vital programming for 2010 included Jewish American Heritage month in May, with a keynote address by TV and radio personality Rabbi Shmuley. In September, the library kicked off a month-long series of programs with the theme Science is FUNdamental. The launch day, co-sponsored by the NJ Center for the Book, drew almost 1,000 people to hear Columbia Space Shuttle astronaut Robert J. Cenker speak.
In December, The Lion’s Den Café opened at the Eastern Branch in Shrewsbury, offering another wonderful service for our patrons. The café manager, who is a certified nutritionist, will assist the library in running healthy food programming in 2011.
The Monmouth County Library System, with its 14 members and 13 branches, looks forward to continuing its high level of service and diverse programming to enhance the quality of life of all the citizens of the great County of Monmouth. We thank the Board of Freeholders for sustaining the Library System and maintaining its position as the busiest public library in New Jersey.
Renee B. Swartz
Chair, Monmouth County Library Commission