SHREWSBURY – Renee Swartz, Rumson, was unanimously re-elected chair of the Monmouth County Library Commission at its reorganization meeting at Eastern Branch Library, Route 35 recently. The popular long time member has held the position since 1976. Also re-elected were Frank Wells of Union Beach as vice chair, and Nancy Grbelja of Millstone and Peter Boyle of Atlantic Highlands as co-treasurers.
Swartz attended the former NJ College for Women, now Douglas College at Rutgers University, before transferring to Barnard College where she earned a degree in European history and studied educational administration. Her interest in education and the important role libraries play in helping residents achieve high education standards dates back to the early years of her marriage when she was asked to volunteer as a survey taker for the American Association of University Women to determine what educational resources would be offered to the growing population of Monmouth County.
Her advocacy for libraries has been felt at all levels of government. At the national level, she was Chair of the NJ Delegation to the White House Conference on Library and Information Services task forces, serving as national treasurer and permanent representative, appointed by the President to the Institute of Museum and Library Services Board, a federal agency of the executive branch which administers funds to 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums across the nation. She was on the founding Board of Directors of the Library of Congress’ New Jersey Center for the Book, the NJ State Library Advisory Council, the American Library Association Advisory Board for the National Office of Information Technology Policy, and numerous other national, state, and county committees, task forces, and communications offices. She wrote and developed The People’s Bill of Rights which was subsequently adopted by the New Jersey Library Association and was an amendment to the White House Conference in 1979 as the Preamble to the 2nd White House Conference.
Swartz recounted some of the history of libraries in accepting the chairmanship for another year, noting the Monmouth County Library system can take great pride in how it has kept up with technological advances and media in making the library available to everyone. “We say today that the Library is in the Palm of your Hand because of all of our technological advances,” the chair person said, citing the variety of ways the library is accessible 24 hours a day through modern technology and media.
Swartz also expressed thanks to Freeholder Director Lillian Burry and the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, for their funding which enables the Commission to keep up with technology and offer 24 hour access to a variety of programs and materials. Burry is the Freeholder liaison to the Commission.