SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Trustees - past and present - of the South Plainfield Public Library Board, along with Director Linda Hansen, were recognized by Mayor Matt Anesh and the Borough Council this week.
At the Aug. 13 public meeting, the mayor presented a plaque in honor of the library’s commitment to the community and the efforts made by Hansen and the board to revitalize Willow Park.
“The library is a great jewel for the community and seeing this little park revitalized after so many years – a lot of people did not even realize this park was back there – just compliments all the programs,” said Anesh on behalf of himself and governing body.
“Thank you so much… and we really appreciate all you have done for us,” Cheryl Nagel-Smiley, president of the library board, said.
The current board president also commended Darlene Cullen and Councilwoman Christine Faustini, past president and past vice president, respectively, and Hansen. Cullen and Faustini, said Nagel-Smiley, were ‘instrumental and getting the ball rolling’ and Hansen’s ‘goal is to make the library part of the community and for the community to enjoy the library.’
“If you look at the all the programs we do. No other library in the state has children’s programs almost every day. We have special needs programs. We have a lot of parenting programs. We are way into the 21st century with what we do,” she said.
“We are proud to be an integral part of the community and dedicated to ensuring that the South Plainfield Library offers programs and services so all members of the community,” said Hansen. “We are honored to be recognized by the mayor and council and hope to continue working together to make our library even better.”
Since the new state-of-the-art facility reopened in February 2016, patronage has increased dramatically with an additional 1,000 residents joining each year. Additionally, programs have more than doubled with attendance nearly tripling. So far in 2018 nearly 6,000 children and approximately 4,200 adults attended library-sponsored programs with more than 900 kids and tweens taking part in the 2018 Summer Reading Program.
Additionally, over the past year, the library has donated funds to revitalize Willow Park. Last spring, new swings, including an adaptive one, along with a new play structure were erected and, this past June, work was completed to make the park fully inclusive with slides, multi-sensory boards, and wheelchair accessible routes with transfer points along with a special ground base for wheelchair or other handicap equipment.
“At National Night Out, to look over and see 100 kids playing over there was just so special,” said Faustini, adding, “Thank you to this board and the board members prior and everyone who has been behind the library to make it what it is today. You have embraced every facet of the community; there is a place for everyone there.”
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