renee becker swartz libraryFrom Left, Renee Swartz, Freeholder Deputy Director Lillian Burry, Congressman Chris Smith, Library Director Judi Tolchin, with Benjamin Franklin, founder of the lending library, 1791.

SHREWSBURY – More than 300 persons filed the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library to hear Congressman Chris Smith, Monmouth County freeholders and local mayors and other officials praise and congratulate the branch at its 50th anniversary of serving Monmouth County residents.

Smith presented an American flag to the Monmouth County Library Commission which he had flown over the US Capitol on Oct. 13, the anniversary of the 1968 formal opening of the branch facility on Route 35.

The Commission also honored its chair, Renee B. Swartz, in naming the Children’s Library at Eastern Branch the Renee B. Swartz Library.

Swartz, who was first named to the Country commission in 1966 and has had her appointment continued by every Board of Freeholders since, has also served on numerous national boards and is a strong advocate of recognizing libraries as the heart of the community. She served on the Women in Public Service Project and Colloquium representing Barnard College in 2011 and was a presidential appointee to the Institute of Museum and Library Services Board, a federal agency that administers funds to 122,000 Libraries and 17,500 museums across the nation where she served five years and is currently a Member Emerita. She was also appointed by President George Bush to serve on a White House Conference on Aging and was Chairman and a member of the founding Board of Directors of the Library of Congress, NJ Center for thee Book. At the state level, she also served on the NJ State Library Advisory Council from 1976 through 2011. She has been Chair of the Monmouth County Commission since 1975.

Freeholder Deputy Director Lillian G. Burry presented a resolution from the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders honoring the Eastern Branch anniversary and spoke at the ceremony in praise of the work of the library, its expanse over the years, and the needs it fills for Monmouth County residents. Burry is the board of freeholder’s liaison to the Library Commission.

Mayors or representatives from ten of the communities served by the County library system, Atlantic Highlands, Highlands, Little Silver, Eatontown, Oceanport, Shrewsbury, Union Beach, Hazlet , Holmdel and Keansburg, presented resolutions, proclamations or congratulations honoring the anniversary. Boy Scout Troop 50 of Shrewsbury presented an honor guard, and Eliana Swartz, granddaughter of the Commission Chair, sang the National Anthem.

Freeholder Director Tom Arnone, and freeholders Pat Impreveduto, John P. Curley and Gerry P. Scharfenberger, Ph.D., joined Freeholder Burry at the ceremony.

On display at the celebration was a miniature replica of the Sculpture, Endless Possibilities through Reading, currently being created by Franco Minervini which will be placed on a pedestal on the Eastern Branch lawn in the spring of 2019.