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Monday, January 7, 2013

Highlights of 2012 at South Brunswick Public Library

2012 Highlights Final

This past year was bursting with lots of good news and tempered with some not so good news.

While Hurricane Sandy was surely not good news, it did remind residents without power that the South Brunswick Public Library has more to offer than just books, which was great news for them and for us!

Extensive power outages after the hurricane in October prompted extended operating hours and service for several days, bringing literally hundreds more residents through our doors as we operated as a day shelter and power charging station. Residents found needed power, heat, camaraderie, and resources during the crisis and the Library made a lot of new friends.

Another weather related celebrity graced us with a more enjoyable experience earlier in October. Channel 7 weatherman Bill Evans acted as our featured author for the Foundation’s annual Book & Author Dinner at Pierre’s Restaurant. Generous with his time, Bill stayed late into the night at the Foundation fundraiser, signing books and chatting with guests.

The Library’s usefulness after Sandy and throughout the year was recognized with a Community Partnership Award from the South Brunswick Board of Education. Also, longtime Library volunteers Lease and Ruth Ruddick were awarded a Certificate of Appreciation plaque from the Libraries of Middlesex for their many years of service to the Library and to the Friends of the Library.

Improved services for the public in several areas came to fruition in 2012. After a year of combined staff efforts our new website went live with a more interactive digital component. We built a new web site to include more user-friendly features and an extensive e-branch to keep up with today’s user needs and desires. A new print and pay system was installed to protect user privacy and also offer a color option for a few more cents.

Throughout 2012 our bi-monthly Compass newsletter went from 8 to 12 pages to accommodate the expanding variety of programs offered to the public. There has been an increase in programming for all ages and interests including tweens, technology, special needs, and ESL.

Programming highlights earlier in 2012 included the SB Reads partnership between the schools, Library and community featuring Alice in Wonderland. We expect to go from wonderland to fairytale land in 2013.

Thanks to combined efforts, the Friends’ Daphne Powell Concert Series presented not one but ten different musical performances in the library throughout the year. Thanks to combined efforts, the Friends’ Daphne Powell Concert Series presented not one but ten different musical performances in the library throughout the year. This program was funded in part by a grant from the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission and sponsored by the Friends of the S.B. P. L.

In the spring our partnership with Aging in Place prompted a community panel discussion on The Faith Club and was part of the Continuing Cultural Conversation Initiative.

Our bookmobile marked its 35th anniversary of curbside library service to the community in April.

We dedicated two collaborative murals in 2012. In February a Teen Mural was dedicated and now hangs in the Teen Computer Lab. Teens had worked many months to complete the collage of characters from popular literature for young adults. Adults in the Summer Reading program created panels puzzled together of Van Gogh’s Bedroom at Arles, which now brightens up the Computer Lab.

Three successful Foundation fundraisers and three Friends book sales were held. The Friends also began a successful partnership with the Defensive Driving program.

We welcomed new Board of Member Trustee Janet Campisano.

Although there was not much bad news in 2012, it surely was significant.

Sad and totally unexpected was the recent passing of SBPL Board President and community activist Ellen Gambatese, wife of Mayor Frank Gambatese. Ellen founded several of the Library’s successful fundraisers and was active in the Hugs for Brady organization, among many others. She will be sorely missed.

Of course the property damages to homes and power outages caused by Hurricane Sandy were bad news though we did all make the best of it together. Other not so good news would be the six furlough day closings in 2012, needed to stay within budget; as we will have to do again in 2013.

In 2013 we are looking forward to even more good news! To receive current Library news check the bi-monthly Compass newsletter, our website and social sites, and subscribe to our e-mail news blasts.

SBPL is proud to be the community’s Guide to Discovery for information, culture, continuing education, and entertainment. We thank the residents, town officials and partners for their continued support.

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