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mc library eastern branchSHREWSBURY – Eight librarians, eight circulation assistants and ten student monitors who staffed the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library in 2019 handled the needs of the more than 600 to 700 Monmouth County residents who visited the branch on an average day during 2019, Librarian Kim Avagliano reported to the Monmouth County Library Commission last month.

Avagliano  said the library also averaged at least 140 new patron registrations each month, and circulated more than 26,000 items a month, in addition to online renewals and eBooks. To meet the ever growing needs and requests of the community, the librarian said the branch also acquires approximately 2, 000 new  items each month.

The library visitation has continued through  a series of building changes and improvements which took place during 2019, including painting rooms and hallways, replacing carpeting and adding copy machines and printers, as well as electrical outlets for quiet  study. Roof repairs have also been made and phone sets upgraded during the year.

The library branch, located on Route 35, continues to be enhanced by the Master Gardeners, Avagliano continued, noting that island plantings at the building entrance are maintained by the Master Gardeners and changed seasonally.

The branch offers numerous programs throughout the year, and Paul Zigo’s World War II lectures, an art lecture on van Gogh, and hands-on art and craft workshops have been among the most popular programs. Local author talks and poetry events, as well as a holiday concert  by the Navesink Brass have also been high on the lists of favorites.

The Eastern Branch continues to offer  tax-aide programs..more than 1400 tax returns were processed by volunteers in 2019….  A s well as a Master Gardeners Helpline as well as job and career assistance appointments. Avagliano said the career assist ance handled an average of 60 job seekers every month, while the Master Gardeners handled more than 100 questions on their Helpline.

Year round programs that were especially popular during the past year were the monthly book discussions and First Friday for Seniors programs, as well as the weekly sessions of English conversation, bridge, Mah Jongg, ,and one-on-one computer instruction.

Avagliano also praised the work of the Friends of the Monmouth County Library, a volunteer group that  conducts book sales twice a year raising funds for library programs, recruiting more active volunt eers, and raising programs through special events to support musical, art, history, yoga , crafts and bridge lessons offered throughout the year. The Friends also provide refreshments for many programs and special events.

Looking forward to 2020, Avagliano noted that  highlights planned are the installation of Franco Minervini’s  sculpture, Endless Possibilities through Reading, on the lawn in front  of the library on Route 35,    as well as  programs to highlight the 100th anniversary of the passage of t he 19th amendment and Beethoven’s 300th birthday. The library branch will also promote more family history and genealogy resources to meet increased interest in these topics.  At the same time,  new sidewalks, ramps, steps, a driveway entrance and handicapped parking spaces are all anticipated  to be completed during the coming year.

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