FREEHOLD, NJ – Food for Fines is one of several celebrations happening in the Monmouth County Library System through National Library Week beginning Sunday, April 12, Acting Director Judy Tolchin announced this week.

The Food for Fines program, which this year will extend through April 25, enables library users to reduce any accumulated fines when non-perishable foods are brought into the library. All foods will be donated to the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean counties. Each food item brought in will reduce the fine by a dollar.

“This is a win-win situation for us all,” Tolchin said, “it gets our books and all other materials, including DVDs and CDs, back on the shelves so they can be used by others, enables our readers to eliminate the fines they’ve incurred and also helps the local food bank which is always so appreciative of what anyone can do. ” She noted that anyone at the library is also encouraged to contribute to the food drive during the period, which ends April 25.

National Library Week is a 58-year old program sponsored by the American Library Association designed to celebrate the contributions the nation’s libraries and librarians as well as to promote library use and support. This year, with a theme of “Unlimited possibilities @ your library” author David Baldacci is honorary chairman and many of his books are available at each of the County’s branches and members.

Within the Monmouth County system, several libraries have special events planned for the week, and have expanded its celebrations through the end of the month, Tolchin continued. “We have all been through a most unusual winter of cold, snow and a delayed spring. The library has so many new ideas to offer, it seemed only natural to spread the activities out until the end of the month and focus on the variety of activities we can do now that it seems spring has arrived.”

One highlight will be held at Headquarters, Symnes Ave., and Manalapan on Sunday, April 26, when Carol Fredette and Trio perform in a jazz concert.   A native New Yorker, Fredette has been acclaimed across the country for her repertoires, which can include everything from light Latin jazz to ballads and has a reputation and following for addressing all songs of upbeat content.  The veteran of the New York jazz scene, Fredette puts her own stamp on classics that include Berlin, Cole Porter and George Gershwin, and well as her version of Billie Holiday’s “No Regrets.”

The program opens at 2 p.m. and there is no charge.

For the local history aficionado, Joseph A. Grabas will present The Monmouth or Navesink Patent at the Manalapan headquarters on Tuesday, April 14, beginning at 7 p.m. A member of the Monmouth County Historical Commission and a land title historian, Grabas will trace the history of ownership of lands in Monmouth County.

In Hazlet, the library is sponsoring a book sale on Saturday, April 18, beginning at 9 a.m., and in Colts Neck, a special exhibit of Monmouth County Arts High School and Arts Middle School Student works is featured throughout the month.

The Eastern Branch, Route 35, Shrewsbury, is featuring a celebration of Keansburg photographs by Bill Jones, and there will b e an artist’s reception Sunday, April 12 at 2 p.m.

The Atlantic Highlands branch is continuing its chess classes for all on April 25 at 10 a.m., while Mah Jongg and bridge are both offered at the Wall Township Branch Mondays at 1 p.m.

“Many of the programs featured during National Library Week are already popular favorites in our branches,”   Tolchin said, “but setting aside a week to highlight the variety and broad spectrum of entertainment and education offered within our libraries gives those who have not experienced the library in a while the opportunity to see that it isn’t just books anymore.”