SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – As a kid growing up in the Bronx, when he wasn’t outside playing stickball or basketball, Eric Aronowitz could be found hanging out at the library with his friends. When he moved to South Plainfield in 1988, Aronowitz would visit the borough library occasionally, however, it wasn’t until a decade later that he really became involved. 

Back then, under Dan Gallagher as mayor, Aronowitz was appointed to the South Plainfield Public Library’s Board of Trustees. He served as a member from 1999 to 2000 and, as its president until 2013. The following year he was appointed the board’s attorney and, after serving in that capacity for the past six years, recently decided to step down, effective Dec. 31. 

“A couple of years turned into 20; twenty years anywhere is a long time in any place. I really enjoyed it but figured it was time, It’s not a decision I made rashly,” Aronowitz told TAPinto South Plainfield, noting he and his wife, Phyllis, has been traveling a lot more lately and, as a result, he’s missed board meetings. 

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“If I am going to represent someone, I should be there. It didn’t feel right and I felt a little guilty not going to all the meetings,” he said. 

During his tenure as the library board’s president, Aronowitz worked to ‘bring the library into the 21st Century’ in terms of technology and was involved in the planning process of the new facility. “The new library was the biggest accomplishment while I was affiliated with the library,” said Aronowitz. 

“In my humble opinion, the library went from being somewhat of an after-thought – an under-sized, noisy and not conducive place – to a facility that is state of the art and, again in my opinion, the crown jewel of the community. It is now such a user-friendly, welcoming place,” he continued, crediting the staff for the library’s success. 

“While the trustees might be the point of the pyramid, it is the staff that serve as its base and keep it sturdy, steady…” Aronowitz said. “While the board may ultimately be the policymakers, without a staff that is professional, courteous, friendly, and willing to go above and beyond, the South Plainfield Library wouldn’t be what it is today. 

Aronowitz served as first deputy county counsel for the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders for 30 years and, since 2012, has served as counsel for the Middlesex County Board of Social Services on a part-time basis. As the library board’s attorney from 2014 to the present he insured that the board complied with all laws and regulations as well as oversaw the public bidding process for the construction of the new facility. 

Although he is ‘stepping away’ on a professional level, Aronowitz said he plans to still remain involved with the library and attend meetings, as a member of the community, as much as possible.

“You don’t put that much time in and then just walk away without feeling a twinge. I still plan on being around, just in a different capacity,” he said, adding, “I don’t want to step on the toes of whoever the new attorney may be, but I want [the board] to know they can always come to me with any questions.”

 

© TAPinto South Plainfield, 2020. This article may be shared online, but may not be reproduced or altered in print or any other media without written permission of TAPinto South Plainfield.

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