FANWOOD, NJ -- Longtime Fanwood children's librarian Susan Staub was honored by the Fanwood Council during its meeting on Monday, Aug. 3.
"It has been a great joy to serve the children of Fanwood by encouraging their love of reading and their search for knowledge and truth," said Staub, who retired earlier this summer. "Now, it is time for me to continue my own journey as I look forward to spending more time with family and friends. I thank you for the opportunity you have afforded me to pursue such a fulfilling professional life in such a vibrant community."
Susan Staub earned her bachelor’s degree from St. Peters College in Art History and Theology with a minor in classics and philosophy and later went on to earn her M.A. in religious education from Princeton Theological Seminary and her MLS from Rutgers. An ardent fan of storytelling and of all things Disney, she spent 13 years directing education programs in different churches for children and adults before becoming a librarian.
The children's librarian created many notable programs for children over the years including the always successful summer reading clubs and programs, and a very well-received Summer Drama Workshop that ran for years.
"Over the last few months of Covid-19 lockdown, we've learned that some workers are nice to have but others, well, we can't really function without them -- produce pickers, nurses, teachers. We would like to add children's librarians to that list," wrote director Dan Weiss in the Fanwood library's newsletter. "Who else, after all, acts as the local guide into our culture, into our world of ideas and adventures, information and resources, for our kids? Fanwood has been extremely fortunate these past 25 years to have Susan Staub in that role. Susan will be retiring effective this week, and we are most sorry to see her go."
Susan was hired by the Fanwood Memorial Library in 1995. It was her first library job. Within four years of joining the Fanwood library, the collection went digital. Miniature workstations were installed near her desk for her young patrons, and a whole different kind of world opened up for researching and resources.
"Technology was a big change," she said. "Kids learn so differently now."
But hardware and software never distracted Susan from her mission to lead children to the literature written expressly for them. In addition to using books as resources, she partnered with parents and other professionals to produce annual dramas starring her young patrons. Every summer she planned, coordinated, and found funds for a kids' club where they learned to Catch the Reading Bug, Imagine Your Story and Build a Better World. She arranged for animals to arrive in suitcases, football players to appear in costume, star skaters to read a story, and famed authors who live locally to read from their work. Thousands of kids enrolled in her summer programs. She also steered her department through several floods and renovations, always with a cheerful spirit.
"This very short list of her many responsibilities doesn't even touch on her most important gift to our community: her unique ability to connect with young people and their families," Weiss wrote. "Her generosity in helping them solve access problems, whether it was to the non-ADA-compliant basement area where she worked or to that one book, recording, magazine, website, or guinea pig a specific child needed right then, on that day."
After years of wonderful service, the children's librarian turns the page and now begins a new chapter.
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