MANALAPAN – Live Chat enhancing communications for patrons and librarians, virtual programing, increased spending on digital collections, and door-side pickup were only some of the many ways the Monmouth County met and overcame the challenges placed on its services because of the Covid pandemic.
At the same time, the library continued to be available with all it has always offered within the headquarters and branch libraries throughout Monmouth County, increasing the benefit of a library card to include eBooks, downloadable audio books and online magazines and other offerings.
In an open letter to all announcing the recently released annual report of the Monmouth County Library for 2020, County Library Director Judith Tolchin pointed out the report highlights the virtual services and other achievements the Monmouth County system has inaugurated and offered during the past year, inviting the public to explore the Library’s website to learn more about programs and benefits offered.
“The library shines as the heart of the County community ,” Tolchin said, “a place where residents of all ages s can access education, information and entertainment. Services advance in an evolving hybrid model, providing both virtual and in person options.”
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Nancy A Grbelja, Chairperson of the Monmouth County Library Commission, expressing her thanks to Tolchin, County Commissioner Lillian G. Burry, the liaison from the Board of Commissioners to the Library, and each employee for the roles they played in continuing the high standards and offering innovative new programs which enabled all library branches and members “move forward with a spirit of enthusiasm, energy and creativity in the wake of an unprecedented event and is ramifications, CoVID-19.” Grbelja, who became Chairman in January of last year, said assuming the position in the wake of long-time leader Renee Swartz “was daunting on its own.” But faced three months later with the mandated closure of all libraries, with little notice, forced the staff to overcome numerous difficulties and design alternatives to continue to meet the library needs of Monmouth County residents. “The Monmouth County Library remains at the front of the line in introducing 21st century technology,” the chairperson said, “and our staff accomplished all of this and re-educated the public on accessing it all through a variety of means.”
Both Grbelja and Burry noted that all the unexpected and unplanned changes came at the same time as the staff was continuing work on ongoing renovations in the Headquarters Library, yet they could continue to design programs and activities to meet patrons’ needs when the libraries were finally able to reopen.
“This year their work and dedication has been even more extraordinary than ever,” Burry said, as well as praising the Friends of the Library, the Master Gardeners and “all the other volunteers who recognize the high standards set by Director Tolchin and her staff.”
Burry also praised Grbelja for her leadership of the Commission who have “contributed so much to the residents through their leadership and support of the Library staff and volunteers.”
The Library branches are located in Shrewsbury, Allentown, Atlantic Highlands, Colts Neck, Hazlet, Holmdel, Howell, Marlboro, Ocean Township, Oceanport, Wall Township and West Long Branch. Member libraries are located in Brielle, Eatontown, Fair Haven, Interlaken, Keansburg, Little Silver, Manasquan, Monmouth Beach, Neptune City, Oceanic in Rumson, Sea Bright, Sea Girt, Tinton Falls and Union Beach.
Information on each is available on the library website at www.MonmouthCountyLib.org. or @MonCoLibrary.