H: What highlights of your experience with Hoboken Library makes you the most proud?
L: I am extremely proud of the growth of Hoboken Library. When I came to this job, the library was small in operations—it circulated only 60,000 items, by comparison, we circulated almost 250,000 items last year. There were a minimal amount of programs for children and practically almost none for adults. There were no teen services. We are now a modern library with a computer center, a Makerspace, a wide range of programs for all ages, and a variety of online services, including e-books, e-magazines, and digital music, quite a number of digital reference materials, including encyclopedias and language courses, and online lectures. We have an active social media presence with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a popular book blog, an active teen department and very strong adult and children services.
Surely, I am also happy that during my tenure at the library, we have done a number of improvement projects, repairing roof and cupola, installing an elevator, repairing copper cornice, and, preparing for a full renovation of library’s lower level. I am also extremely proud of our library as we received a $750,000 grant from the New Jersey Historic Trust, the highest grant award from this organization. We were also fortunate to receive another grant from Historic Trust for historic properties damaged by Hurricane Sandy, and also a Hudson County Open Spaces grant to renovate a library outdoor space. The Library Advocacy and support group has been expanded recently by forming a Hoboken Public Library Foundation.
I feel that we are now a true center of the community—a place for people of all ages and variety of interests
H: Earlier this year, NPR posted an article that posted the question, “Do we really need libraries?” What is your response to that question?
L: I am absolutely sure that libraries will always exist in progressive and educated societies. Despite the availability of information on the Internet, there will be always needed for books, whatever form and shape they will take, there will be also a need for storage and sharing of knowledge. I also believe that there is an even greater need for community centers where people can come to do their work in an education and knowledge-conducive environment, can learn and share their skills, and educate their children—a place which will have the knowledge available for all people, regardless of their social status or education level but having one thing in common: a desire to learn, to develop, to share. The libraries that are in that business now are doing great jobs in the community, and have been already recognized in that role. In addition, there is now even a greater need to find what people need in this ocean of information which is all around us, and the library and librarians are the most equipped to assist in that journey.
H: What do you wish more people knew about the Hoboken Library?
L: I wish people will just come to the library because once they are here, they will find that it is the greatest resource for whatever their needs are.
H: What are some of the exciting offerings and programs that the library has to offer which people may not know about?
L: It is probably a Makerspace. I would encourage people to come to the library’s Creation space every Monday from 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM to learn about this wonderful new program. I would also encourage people to look at our digital collection, especially the e-magazines. We have a very interesting gem—our local history collection. I hope that people know about our library’s offerings, we try to be very active and tell people about our services through different media publications, print and online. I would also encourage people to look at the wide array of programs to choose the ones that suit their interests and needs.
H: What can a person do if they want to show their support to the Hoboken Library?
L: I believe the main support anyone can show to their local library is to get involved, to become enrolled in library activities. In addition, the library has a very active support groups, like Friends of the Library and Hoboken Public Library Foundation. Both organizations are looking for new members and ways to engage people in the community.