By Steve Sears
2020 is a new year, begins a new decade, and also commences new leadership at the Florham Park Public Library.
Maplewood, New Jersey resident, Nancy Aravecz Shah, has been named its new Director.
Joan Hipp, ten years at the helm, handed over the reins on Thursday, January 2. “I’ve got a tough act to follow!” says Shah fondly of her predecessor. “Joan was amazing at her job, so I want to make sure that I keep up all the good work that she did. I’m also eager to build on that to provide top-notch, innovative library programs to the residents of Florham Park.”
Shah first got started in libraries as an Assistant at the Fales Library and Special Collection at New York University Bobst while she was getting her MA in English Literature at NYU. “I was at the New York Public Library for 5 1/2 years,” says Shah, when asked about her background. “I began at the Mid-Manhattan Library in Midtown and spent the last four years as a librarian at the Jefferson Market branch, a neighborhood library in Greenwich Village. I was always very involved with collection management and Reader’s Advisory or giving book recommendations to the public. My main focus, and biggest achievements are in community outreach and adult programming. I’ve done things like community conversations, where I moderate discussions on hot-button topics; book discussion groups and seminars on classic works of literature; community idea festivals; and technology and media literacy classes. I also worked hard on doing outreach to the higher educational communities in the Village, getting local PhD candidates and professors to offer condensed college courses to the public. These are programs that I see as democratizing higher education and bringing the intellectual and cultural capital that it offers to people who might otherwise not have access to it.”
Shah is excited about the opportunity, and the Florham Park Library itself. “I am absolutely thrilled to be here. Florham Park residents are so lucky to have such a beautiful library, and such warm, welcoming, and knowledgeable library staff working here. I’m really looking forward to working with them and getting to know the Florham Park community better.”
As previously stated, Shah is fond of community outreach, and she certainly values communication. She is anxious to do both with her new library community. “You tell me!” she responds when asked what she and her staff can best deliver to patrons and residents. “I hosted two informal meet and greets at the library on January 29 and January 30. I would love to hear from the community what their greatest needs are, and what services they would like to see FPPL provide to them.”
The Florham Park Public Library is located at 107 Ridgedale Avenue and can be contacted by calling (973) 377-2694. Visit www.florhamparklib.com to see all that the library has to offer.