LIVINGSTON, NJ — In celebration of National Library Week, TAPinto Livingston is highlighting the staff members of the Livingston Public Library (LPL) who work tirelessly to plan compelling programs for all ages throughout the year. From author visits and special events to workshops and lectures, the library schedules a multitude of topical and entertaining events each month.
Stating that the library’s mission is to “provide a robust variety of programs to meet the needs and interests of our community,” LPL Director Amy Babcock-Landry said the library is “always trying to come up with new programs and events.”
During National Library Week, Babcock-Landry expressed gratitude for the township’s unwavering support, stating that the township council has approved the library’s budget requests for the past two years and “gives above and beyond the required statutory minimum.”
“The library is grateful for this support and we are thoughtful stewards of public resources,” she said. “The LPL truly belongs to all residents. Our goal is to ensure that it is relevant and accessible to everyone in our community.”
Mayor Al Anthony beams with pride when talking about the LPL.
"Our library is a precious jewel of this township,” he said. “The amount of activities, programs, events, book readings, and learning choices, and the terrific people who work at our library are simply amazing.”
Serving as liaison to the library board, Anthony explained that he gets to see the decision makers in action as they “safeguard and expand the future of learning in town” and find new ways enrich the community.
“Our children and adults have literally countless opportunities every day to learn, meet authors, participate in discussion groups, attend multicultural events, innovate and workshop just about any subject imaginable,” he said. “I learned early on that to succeed in properly representing the residents of our town as mayor was to further the goals and nurture our library. People love our library and for good reason: it’s the best. Amy and her staff work hard and tremendously succeed in giving our residents yet another reason why our town is such a desirable place to live.”
Babcock-Landry shared information about some of the LPL’s major upcoming events.
Stating that “an author visit is always a favorite,” Babcock-Landy announced that Livingston High School alumna Sharon Farber will return to Livingston on April 28 to discuss her book, “Choosing to be a Medium.”
"Websites Made Easy" on April 30 will give attendees the basic information they need to design a website for a small business.
Also, on Thursday, April 18, the library will host a "Baby Open Play" session for its youngest users (newborns - 23 months).
“This is a great opportunity to meet neighbors with children of similar ages and introduce your child to the library in a relaxed and fun environment,” said Babcock-Landry.
She also noted that the library's adult services include book clubs, adult coloring, a creative writing group, reflective journaling as well as an impressive variety of lectures and workshops.
Children's programs consist of early literacy, elementary enrichment and the summer reading challenge. Children can borrow toolkits for robotics, engineering, sewing and paper crafts. They can also check out a telescope, puzzles and the AWE Early Learning Station.
In April, the Teen Zone offers a Poetry Workshop for grades 6-8, Tween Gaming for grades 5-8 and Teen Gaming. In May, Teen Stress Less Day and Books and Buttons are on the calendar.
With summer quickly approaching, Babcock-Landry shared that last year’s Summer Reading Challenge was quite successful last year due, in part, to “revamping the challenge using survey results from the 2017 Youth Summer Reading participants.”
She noted that the name was recently changed to “Summer Reading Challenge” in order to eliminate any confusion between the specific challenge and the many other programs held at the library. The prizes structure was also changed so that prizes are now awarded when "Levels" are completed, rather than presenting awards when people simply visit the library. Plus, each "Level" now includes new academic-focused reading and writing/drawing challenges in addition to reading requirements so children will learn even more, Babcock-Landry added.
Additionally, changes have also been implemented for the teen summer reading program, which is now called the “Teen Summer Game.” The teens now have four “Levels” to complete. Children and teens who continue to read after completing the four levels of the Summer Reading Challenge or the Summer Game will be eligible for additional Grand Prize Raffle tickets.
“The LPL is the heart of our vibrant town,” Babcock-Landry said as she summarized the library’s role in the community. “From infants to senior citizens, we provide an extraordinary library experience for everyone in our diverse community.”
She noted that an average of 700 visitors come through the LPL doors every day, and that content is also provided to residents outside of the library walls.
In the past two years, the LPL has also expanded its e-resource collection to meet the rising demand for digital content. Last year, Livingston residents downloaded more than 38,000 items, according to Babcock-Landry.
All photos were provided by the Livingston Public Library.