The Monmouth County Library was the recipient of the 2012 Circle of Excellence Award, given each year by the Greater Monmouth Chamber of Commerce. The library received the award for the public service category.
The Circle of Excellence Award represents the chamber’s annual search for outstanding contributions to the community. Given in six categories, the Circle of Excellence can be awarded to individuals or organizations.
The public service award is designed to foster a public awareness of the wide range of services and programs offered to the community by the Monmouth County Library, according to the chamber. The awards dinner was held on Thursday, June 7 at the Battleground Country Club in Manalapan.
Accepting the award for the library was Renee B. Swartz, chair of the Monmouth County Library Commission, and Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the library.
Swartz has chaired the library commission since 1976, and also serves as chair of the New Jersey Center for the Book (an affiliate of the U.S. Library of Congress). She was recently named the 2012 New Jersey Library Champion by the New Jersey State Library.
Swartz noted that from its modest beginnings in 1923 in the basement of the Hall of Records with 8,500 books, through the years of reliance on a bookmobile to circulate items, the Monmouth County Library has grown to encompass 13 branches and 14 member libraries.
“It is with great pride that the Monmouth County Library accepts the Circle of Excellence Award for Public Service from the Greater Monmouth Chamber of Commerce,” Swartz said. “The library, as the community and cultural center of the county, has as its mission to enrich the quality of life of the residents here in our great county and is the resource that touches us all for lifelong learning, for information access and for recreation. Its doors are always open wide to afford us all the opportunity to reach the American Dream.”
Burry, a former Monmouth County Library commissioner, has been the liaison to the Monmouth County Library System since she first began serving as a freeholder in 2006.
“In these challenging times, the library has increasingly become a vital part of the lives of Monmouth County residents,” Burry said. “At the library you can find computer classes, help with your income tax preparation, English language instruction, seminars for first-time homeowners, workshops for SAT preparation, and resources for job seekers, to name but a few. As we say, the library is more than just books.”
More than 230,000 residents hold Monmouth County Library cards. In 2011, the library logged approximately 3 million visits throughout its branches and circulated nearly 4 million items. More than 155,000 people attended 6,829 programs held throughout the 13 library branches.
“We can only guess what the new way to be a library will mean for us and our customers, but we will do our best to provide what they must have to prosper,” library director Kenneth Sheinbaum said. “We will evolve with our community, and I believe our ability to recognize need and to change and grow is really why the award has been made to this institution.”