By Steve Sears
Mount Olive High School Library Media Specialist, Sandi Duffy, was in mid-October welcomed as the new Adult Program Director for the Mendham Township Library.
Duffy will not have to juggle her responsibilities at either location. Her Mount Olive position is full-time, and for Mendham she will both spend a few hours a week at the library itself, and also work from her own home. Also, her roles in Mount Olive and Mendham are somewhat different. At the high school, she works with students all the time, teaching them research skills and how to cite sources, pulls books for different projects, hosts book talks and discussions with the students, as well as supporting the teaching staff itself for all their needs for the students in the school. “In all this craziness,” she adds, “we even have set up curbside pickups for our students. So, it’s mostly learning, educational, research.” However, she does host some events for students as well. “I do programs at the high school, too,” she says, singing the praises of the support she receives from the school district. “We do a lot of lunch time programs. We have the bands come in and play, we have students do poetry readings, we have our drama club come in and do some numbers from the musical they’ll be performing. So, we do some programs at the high school for our students to enjoy also.”
In Mendham, Duffy’s is mostly the adult event planning role.
Duffy majored in English at Penn State University, and then attended Kutztown University where she got her master’s degree in Library Science. She also attended William Paterson University and received a master’s degree in Educational Leadership.
An experienced librarian, Duffy, a Vernon resident, also has event planning experience. After her school days at Kutztown, she worked for a New York City based advertising agency, and she planned events for physicians in the pharmaceutical industry. She did that for a few years before turning to the educational realm.
Duffy, who is in her fourth year at the high school, explains her Mendham role. “I certainly want to continue the great programs that they have for their adult audience. They really have some wonderful things going on, and I’m also trying to secure some wonderful programs.”
Secure she has. On Thursday, December 10, journalist Evan Weiner virtually visited and discussed “1967: The Summer of Love”, and on January 7, Art Educator Janet Mandel presents “Claude Monet: Obsessed with the Natural World”. Finally, on January 28,” A W.A.S.P. Takes Wing: The Women Airforce Service Pilots of WWII”, as (from the library website) “Carol Simon Levin tells the story of the amazing WASPs through the eyes of Ann Baumgartner Carl, the Jersey girl who trained as a WASP, became the only American woman to test-fly experimental planes during the war, and the first American woman to fly a jet airplane!”
Duffy, who in her spare time enjoys spending time with her children, son Aidan (16), and daughter, Ava (14), speaks to the quality of both libraries. “The Mount Olive school district – they’re very supportive. They’re very open to trying new things and change. I really have run into no obstacles there in that way. They’re student-centered, and they’re proactive in modernizing things. And at Mendham Township Library, although I’ve not been there that long, so far my experience has been very similar. I’ve been able to run with the type of programs that I think would be interesting and I think people would enjoy.”
The Mendham Township Library is located at 2 West Main Street in Brookside. Visit www.mendhamtownshiplibrary.org.