Monmouth County Library
Every day, the staff of the Monmouth County Library handles quantities of requests with quality of service.
In 2009, Monmouth County residents made more than 2.9 million visits to the library, and 2010 is on track to see more than 3 million visits. Welcoming and providing support to library patrons are 174 library employees at 12 branches, with help from an additional 100 student assistants.
“The ingenuity and talent of our library staff is amazing,” said Ken Sheinbaum, library director since 1992. “Given the size and scope of this library, we have the most efficient staff of any circulating library in the state, period.”
The Library System boasts 12 branch locations, including its Headquarters in Manalapan and the Eastern Branch in Shrewsbury. Others are in Allentown, Colts Neck, Hazlet, Holmdel, Howell, Marlboro, Ocean Township, Oceanport, Wall Township and, the newest, West Long Branch.
Each library branch is staffed by employees whose primary mission is to make sure patrons get what they are looking for. The branches are overseen by Pat Whitehead, branch services librarian. “We have the best staff on the front lines at all our branches. They do what they do best, every day – help people,” she said.
From books to the Internet, to events such as free movies and concerts, and to services such as English classes and job-seeking resources, the Monmouth County Library has it all.
Need a book, a magazine, a DVD or music CD? There are 63 library assistants who can check them out for you. Need a question answered or help with the Internet? The library’s 36 very knowledgable and resourceful reference librarians can help.
“The librarian and library assistant staff strive to make each patron’s visit to a county library a pleasurable one. Personalized assistance is provided whenever time permits – whether it be for computer or Internet help, tracking down hard-to-find information or just locating the perfect read,’’ said Karen Moench, who has been head librarian since 2001.
Head of Reference Kathy Allert sets a high bar for the rest of the staff in being tenacious about finding answers to the toughest questions from library patrons. “The entire staff loves a good challenge to exercise their skills and, even more, they love to see the delight from a patron whose needs have been met,” Moench said.
Got a special interest? Librarian specialties enrich offerings for patrons. Sing-Long Wu is the library’s Chinese language specialist who manages a collection that has no public library equal in New Jersey. Maureen Toole is the library genealogy specialist (and she also supervises student assistants in the huge job of reshelving the 880,000-plus items that circulate each year.)
Need help with choosing a career or finding a job? The Career Information Center at the Eastern Branch Library in Shrewsbury, run by Librarian Charles Gross, maintains a collection of more than 1,300 circulating materials and reference items on choosing a career, changing careers, job hunting, resume writing, interviewing and networking. Online resources include links to online job listings, employment projections, business directories and periodicals.
Programs for All Ages
Looking for a stimulating program for your child? The 17 Children’s Librarians at each Branch offer story times, crafts and special events. Children can hone their reading skills by reading to therapy dogs, learn about bicycle safety or take part in a drama workshop. The Children’s Book Fair, held every March at Library Headquarters, draws hundreds of children and their parents for games, special entertainment and, of course, to check out books.
“We are a great free resource for parents – we have programs to fit all ages, from baby story times to workshops for elementary school kids and everything in-between,” said head Children’s Librarian Patricia Findra. “And it’s all free.”
Trying to turn your teen on to the Library? The newly expanded Teen and Young Adult Program has organized prom dress swaps, Mischief Night parties and Teen Cafes, along with many creative new programs that appeal to teens. The program is headed by Librarian Stephenie Acosta, assisted by Librarians Veronica Stevens, Janice Campbell and Elaine Siegel.
Looking for some free entertainment? From jazz and popular music concerts, stage productions to lectures, Public Relations Librarian Judi Tolchin puts together adult programming that draws crowds. Don’t forget free movies! The Library runs free movies both at Library Headquarters and various branches weekly, overseen by Librarian Laura Migliore.
Looking for a place to play chess or mah-jong? Or do you need a place for your nonprofit organization to meet? For a nominal fee, the library rooms are open to the public.
Other social service organizations use the library every day. SCORE, a national nonprofit organization comprised of retired business executives, and the Monmouth County Surrogates Office use the library in their outreach effort. Every year, American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) volunteers offer free tax preparation at several library branches. Since 2008, at Library Headquarters, English conversation classes are open to adults who are interested in learning to speak English and in practicing their English skills. The program has expanded to include the Eastern Branch, Allentown and Ocean Township.
The Library could not run without the service of its people behind the scenes. The staff of Technical Services, headed by Librarian Pam Sawall, and Requests and Deliveries, headed by Joyce Zimmerman, handles incoming books and periodicals, tracks down those hard to find materials and makes deliveries to all 12 branches.
The Library also maintains a comprehensive Web site, which boasts an updated online catalog and a host of other online services. In fact, online renewal circulation accounts for more than 1 million items annually. As astonishing number of subscription databases provide information to county residents at home, at work and at school. The depth and breadth of the information offered was once only available in the largest libraries.
The Member Services Department, overseen by Heidi Amici, maintains the Web site and the Library’s computer system. The Library Art Department, headed by Val Pasko, produces fliers and brochures for the library’s many programs.
Monmouth County Library Branches:
Library Headquarters, 125 Symmes Dr., Manalapan, 07726. Branch Librarian: Karen Moench.
Eastern Branch, 1001 Route 35, Shrewsbury, 07702. Branch Librarian: Janet Kranis
Allentown, 16 South Main St., Allentown, 08501. Branch Librarian: Nancy Stein
Colts Neck, 1 Winthrop Dr., Colts Neck, 07722. Branch Librarian: Donna Mansfield
Hazlet, 251 Middle Rd., Hazlet, 07730. Branch Librarian: Beth Henderson
Holmdel, 4 Crawford Corner Rd., Holmdel, 07733. Branch Librarian: Karen Nealis
Howell, 318 Old Tavern Rd., Howell, 07731. Branch Librarian: Dianne Rieth
Marlboro, Library Court and Wyncrest Dr., Marlboro, 07746. Branch Librarian: Robyn Miller.
Ocean Township, 701 Deal Rd., Ocean Township, 07712. Branch Librarian: Beth Miller.
Oceanport, Monmouth Boulevard. and Myrtle Avenue, Oceanport, 07757. Branch Librarian Michelle Bordeaux
Wall Township, 2700 Allaire Rd., Wall, 07719. Branch Librarian: Janet Trotter
West Long Branch, 95 Poplar Ave., West Long Branch, 07764. Branch Librarian: Meg Rosenblum
5 million pieces of information circulated system-wide in 2009
For the first half of 2010, the Library had more than 40,000 residents attend more than 1,500 programs.
Jewish American Heritage Month in May 2010 drew more than 3,600 patrons attending 24 different programs. Highlights were a talk given by TV and radio personality Rabbi Shmuley and a one-woman show by actress Renee Taylor.
Summer Teen Program – 1,101 participants in 56 programs, including Teen Café and Friday the 13th Murder Mystery.
Read Across America Day on March 2 featured guest readings by TV personalities Wendy Williams at Ocean Township branch and Josh Flitter in Marlboro.
Marlboro Library hosted a talk by best-selling author Robert Goolrick on June 30.
Get Help! With Housing Fair was held at Library Headquarters on June 17 and was co-sponsored by the N.J. Department of Banking & Insurance and the State Library.
Literature of the World Book Clubs are organized by Reference Librarian Judith Wolt, and hold regular book discussions in six languages: Spanish, Italian, Russian, Hindi, Chinese and Hebrew.
- Sunday, Sept. 26 kicks off Science is Fundamental!, a month-long series of science-themed events for all ages throughout all 12 branches. The Sept. 26 event at Library Headquarters, sponsored by the NJ Center for the Book, will turn the library into a giant science fair from 1 to 5 p.m., and will feature a keynote speech by Columbia Space Shuttle Astronaut Robert Cenker.
- Hispanic Heritage Month will feature an afternoon of flamenco dancing and music on Sep. 19 at Library Headquarters, beginning at 2 p.m.
- The Children’s Department will hold “Snappy Saturdays” at Library Headquarters. beginning Sept. 25 at 9:30 a.m., a play and story time session designed by special needs children. These SNAP (Special Needs Active Play) programs will be offered once a month from September until mid-June.
- A Halloween costume swap will be held at the Hazlet Township Library. Based on the Teen Program’s popular Sweet Seconds Prom Dress Swap, residents can donate a gently used child’s or teen costume and then get a “new’ one in return. Costume collection runs until Oct. 2; swap will be held Saturday, Oct. 9, beginning at noon.
- October brings stage productions: Eastern Branch Library will feature the Thornbrooke Players in “The Gin Game” at 7 p.m. on Oct. 5. On Oct. 16 at 2 p.m., Library Headquarters will present “Absolutely Anna,” a one-woman show by actress Anna Berger.
- Eastern Branch will host a lecture on suffragette Alice Paul, by local author Mary Walton, at 7 p.m., Oct. 12. Celebrate the 90 anniversary of the 19th Amendment!
- Mischief Night, Oct. 30, at Library Headquarters, will return for the second year. This dance and costume party, hosted by the Teen and Young Adult Program, drew more than 200 teens last year.
For more information on the Monmouth County Library, please click on www.monmouthcountylib.org