Pequannock Township Public Library Celebrates 25 Years 

By Henry M. Holden     

 

On July 15, the Pequannock Township Public Library celebrated 25 years in the current building.

A new building replaced the original building in 1997. Debbie Maynard, Pequannock Township Public Library Director, said, “The old library was in the Town Hall, and it was in a very small space. It could never house the collection we have today.”

Maynard estimates the library has over 55,000 books in the collection, including digital books. 

The Friends of the Library sponsored an anniversary concert on July 15th, on the library lawn at 6:30. It featured The Guthrie Brothers, a group that pays tribute to Simon and Garfunkel. They performed a repertoire of the duo’s most famous songs. There was also music, games, giveaways, food trucks and family fun.

The mayor read a proclamation, and Maynard spoke on behalf of the library board president. There was water and cupcakes as refreshments, and an ice cream truck if anyone wished to purchase ice cream.

According to Maynard, the largest part of the library collection is fiction, followed by adult nonfiction. “I would say that children’s fiction and nonfiction are probably about equal.”

Maynard says that digital technology has some advantages. “We can tell what titles our patrons are looking for. Then usually we would purchase those materials as well as popular titles in the electronic format. Of course, we have budget lines for printed material, and digital material.”

“If necessary, we can tell what the percentage of people is using digital versus paper books (hard and soft cover) is. I don’t know exactly but I’m sure that there are people who use both. I lean more toward print books because I can feel it, and touch it, stop reading when I want, and I can take it with me. But, those things one can do with a digital book, but they weigh a lot less and can be stored in a smart phone.”

Maynard encourages children to use the library and its facilities in any way they can. “We had a lot of young people coming to the library and grabbing a book. That is so encouraging. We also offer programs for the adults to come to the library for materials. We have 8,337 library card holders and we offer educational programs, workshops, and classes for all. We have large variety of books, and we have two special collections. One is the Holocaust Collection that contains approximately 400 volumes. It was gifted to us and we also have a Virginia Forde Collection which is a smaller collection donated by Ms. Forde.”

The library’s busy times are during the school year about 2:45pm when classes let out. “It gets very busy and during the summer it is a very busy time, especially when we offer the programs for the children. Several of our children’s programs are sponsored by the Friends of the Library. In addition, many of our local businesses provide prizes or incentives for the programs. And summer reading is not just for kids. We also have programs and prizes for adults and teens, so everyone can join: Monday Book Clubs: Short Story Group: Trivia: Knitting and Crochet: and the Writers Group: The website has meeting times and dates.”

“Inevitably, I am asked, ‘how busy is the library in the summer?’ Most people assume it’s quiet: people go on vacation and students aren’t stopping in to do research for school. However, our library is a hub of activity in the summer! Everyone has more time to read and enjoy the programs that are offered at the library. We thrive in the summer because of our stellar summer reading program for all ages!”

The Friends of the Library provide books for the summer reading programs, so each child receives a free book when they register. 

“We don’t have an outside Story Walk as some libraries have. What we’ve done instead, was during COVID, we created an indoor story walk but it goes around the perimeter of the building inside. And like the outdoor version, we have different pages from a book placed in new windows. And, we don’t have to deal with weather since we have it inside.” 

The Friends of the Library group are very active. They do fundraising for different items. “It’s kind of like a wish list of things, such as new furniture. When there are significant times within the library’s timeline, they are active and supportive of those efforts.”

“When I arrived at the library 10 years ago, there was not much as far as a digital collection goes.  It didn’t take long to realize it was something new, and different and we wondered how it would change the library. I think it made some things easier for the patron. They can access eBooks, audiobooks, and magazines. They can place holds on up to 10 items and have 5 items checked out at one time.”

“I feel like we have embraced this digital technology. It’s different and it’s so much more involved than people realize as far as copyright issues, etc. The digital world is all well and good for the publishers and companies that sell books, but when it comes to libraries it takes on a different meaning. It’s a new way to do business. It’s not the same as buying books from a vendor. The publishers and the vendors quite frankly don’t want to work with libraries because we are the model that takes one digital edition and loans it to many people. So, we’re not as lucrative as an individual who will purchase 10 books. Nevertheless, I think the paper side of our library is doing very well.”

Consult the website www.pequannocklibrary.org for hours, special events and programs. The Pequannock Township Public Library is located on 477 Newark Pompton Turnpike, Pompton Plains, 973-835-7460. 

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