MANALAPAN, NJ – Renee B. Swartz, Chairperson of the Monmouth County Library Commission, announced sweeping changes in the organization of the state’s largest library system at the board’s final meeting of the year, setting it on a path to offer more advanced technology, improved levels in the staffing ratio, and increased programs for job assistance and computer education. The new year will also see a continuation of the library’s robust presence on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

     Swartz praised Library Director Judith Tolchin, appointed to that position last August, on the positive steps that have already been introduced to benefit users of the 13 branches and 14 members of the County Library system and introduced other new appointees who have already started in their new positions.

   Heidi Amici is the new assistant Director of the Library, and Donna Mansfield was named Branch Manager of the Headquarters complex, while Kin Avagliano continues as Eastern Branch Manager for the complex on Route 35, Shrewsbury.

     Swartz noted that while an intensive search was conducted before each position was filled, “I’m happy to report that in every single case, the applicant from within the system turned out to be the most qualified for a promotion. There is no doubt we have a plethora of home-grown talent within the Library System.”

   Freeholder Lillian Burry, who is the Board of Freeholders liaison to the Library Commission, added “The library system is geared for a dynamic 2016 and is headed by a staff that works as a team and is enthusiastic about everything the library offers to the residents of Monmouth County. The coming year’s successes are based on a solid foundation of past experience, continuing education through conferences and seminars, and new technology. The library is the Heart of the County, and a resource that not only provides education and entertainment but in general improves the quality of life in a vibrant way.”

   The Board also presented a certificate of appreciation to John H. Livingstone, Jr., who was also the state librarian for four years, originated Sunday progranm for the Monmouth County System and introduced jazz programs that have been most popular and continuing in the county programming.

Janet Dill was also honored with a Certificate of Appreciation for her leadership in the Monmouth County Master Gardeners Program. Dill and seven other members of the Master Gardeners planned, designed, lay out, planted and maintain the landscape in front of the Eastern Branch library. Master Gardeners are certified experts in horticulture and all things related to gardening and are trained by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service and their associates at Brookdale Community College. Certification in Master Gardeners comes only after ten weeks of classes and a commitment to provide gardening information and services to the community.

   The Shrewsbury Garden Club was also commended and cited at the meeting for their donation of the planters in front of the Eastern Branch library, and their maintenance of the plants.

     Marilyn DeJesus, head of Branch Services, presented the annual report for the 13 library branches. She pointed out that while the new staff positions have been a positive and necessary improvement that continues to move the library system forward, the appointments have left openings in some areas, and the library is also facing the retirements of three library personnel within the next two months. She noted there are still another 18 vacancies to fill, 11 of which are full time, and one mission for the coming year is bring the staff up to the level that ensures improvements, advancements in education, and excellent service and programs for library users.