NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ- As the new branch manager of the North Plainfield Public Library, Carolyn Della Sala brings with her more than 30 years of experience in library services, 17 of which have been with Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ).
Della Sala, who most recently served as branch manager at the Warren Township Library, began her career in library services the summer before college, working at the Plainfield Public Library as a page.
“I knew then that this is what I wanted to do,” said Della Sala. “I saw what libraries offered and loved how the reference department found answers to peoples questions. Everyday, they were learning something new and helping someone and I knew that was something I wanted to be a part of.”
She continued to work at the Plainfield Library throughout college, holding various positions while earning both her undergraduate degree in business administration and her master’s in library services from Rutgers University. Della Sala officially became a librarian in 1984 and, in 1990, was appointed head of reference in Plainfield. She served in the role for six years, before going on to join SCLSNJ at the Hillsborough branch where she was a librarian in the adult services department.
After a little more than two years in Hillsborough, Della Sala took on the position of manager of interlibrary loan services for SCLSNJ. In 2012, she left to become branch manager at the Warren Township Library, serving in this role until coming to North Plainfield last month.
According to Della Sala, the way patrons use the library has changed a great deal since she began her career, especially in terms of technology. “We don’t get a lot of simple questions like we used to because people can find those answers on the web themselves,” she said. “Now, as librarians we are doing a lot more to educate and show people the best sources and places to go to for information.”
Other things that have changed through the years include the use of computers in libraries for both staff and patrons, along with the introduction of downloadable e-books. Additionally, said Della Sala, people are now turning to the library as a place where they can get together and interact with others. “Libraries have always offered programs for children and book discussion groups for adults but patrons are looking to the library to provide more programs so they can meet like-minded people,” she said.
As North Plainfield’s branch manager, Della Sala will also serve as the library’s representative on the North Plainfield Community Forum. Additionally, she will be working closely with the library board and the borough council to put the finishing details on a major renovation project planned for 2016. Built in 1969, the Rockview Avenue building is set to undergo updates to its first floor, including but not limited to, new furnishings and better placement of materials and technology.
Della Sala is looking forward to working with current and new staff, which includes a new young adult librarian and a new adult services librarian, and getting to know the residents. “North Plainfield is a small community and that’s reflected here. The staff know everyone’s name and what they like,” she said. “Every community is different and I am looking forward to getting to know the residents and patrons of North Plainfield and see what they would like and what their needs are.”
Della Sala, who lives in Plainfield with her husband Ben Stanley, a librarian at the Cranford Public Library, added, “Already I can tell that the residents and people who work here have a lot of energy and are really invested in their community and moving it forward.”