Library Board of Trustees, 2015:
Margaret Shapiro – President
Celia Meana – Treasurer
Denise Stewart – Secretary
Ray Cywinski – Mayor of Demarest
Michael Fox – Superintendent of Schools
Edna Ortega – Director
Strategic Planning Committee
- Mary Ann Clarke, Town Historian
- Laura DeFlora
- Melinda Iannuzzi, Councilwoman
- Ammu Kirtane
- Krishna Kumar
- Jin Kupperman
- Eunjung Lee
- Margaret Shapiro
- Mona Tejwani
- Demarest Library Staff
The Demarest Free Public Library is dedicated to serving the information needs of the community. To maintain a high level of service, the library has developed a strategic plan to address the current and long-range goals to set a course of action with new initiatives to expand our patron base and meet the needs of our community for years to come.
The Strategic Planning Committee made a concerted effort in 2014 to reach out to the residents of Demarest to ascertain the impact of the Demarest Free Public Library on the community.
We conducted several email surveys of patrons, families with children in the school system, and council members. We met with high school students and middle schoolers. We met with school media specialists. We met with the PTO and the Korean PTO.
Although we were not able to hire a facilitator and were not able to reach everyone in the community, we were able to identify the following areas where improvement in outreach would increase our services to the community:
- Expand hours
- Offer more programs for adults and young adults
- Recognize the growing diversity of our community
- Social media
Communicating our services to the community was a real weakness. Some residents did not know that there were other offerings besides the usual books and media. Some were unaware that we were open on Sundays. If they are not using our website, they may be missing out on important resources. High school students were unaware of databases like Mango Languages that could help their studies.
Funding was also an area of concern. Our funding has increased since our municipalization in 2009 and the perception is that we should be open more hours and offer more programs for those tax dollars.
The Demarest Free Public Library is a state of the art community destination where all residents can gain free, easy access to a vast network of published information, literature, and audio/visual media to pursue their interests, expand their ideas, learn new skills, and interact with other members of the community to enrich their overall quality of life.
The library strives to be a valued extension of the community. The Library offers special and regularly scheduled creative and educational programs for children, teenagers and adults. We endeavor to staff the Library with dedicated individuals who are highly qualified and professional and can implement the goals set forth by the board of trustees.
As a member of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System (BCCLS), the library adheres to the directives of that group’s mission statement: BCCLS is a consortium of public libraries that delivers quality library service to the general public through sharing of books and other material, purchasing, maintaining, and sharing a computer system and providing common access to electronic resources. BCCLS initiates, nurtures, and manages cooperative public library services of which reciprocal borrowing is the cornerstone. These actions provide its users the widest possible access to all types of materials and information and facilitate the use of global technology in public libraries. BCCLS advocates the provision of professional reference and information services to the patrons of BCCLS libraries.
BCCLS supports coalition and consensus building as key steps in addressing and respecting library needs at the local, county, state and national levels for both adequate funding and appropriate legislation.
BCCLS affirms that libraries are forums for information and ideas and endorses the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights.
History of the Library
Written By: Mabel Ranges and Corrine Semon
Money, they say, is the root of all evil – except in the case of the Demarest Public Library Association. Left-over money from the New Jersey Tercentenary Year celebration in Demarest was set aside by the Tercentenary Committee for use by a possible future library. The idea was Muriel Oliver’s and she and Adelaide Van Voorhies served on an ad hoc committee, headed by Betty Reid, which gathered information from neighboring libraries.
A town meeting was called by the committee on February 4, 1964 and was addressed by a representative of the New Jersey State Library. She introduced the idea of establishing a private association library as an alternative to a municipal library. Before the meeting ended, 20 enthusiastic people had volunteered to take the initial steps toward formation of the Demarest Public Library Association. By June 17, 1964 the association was a legal entity, with a board of 12 trustees including officers.
So many people were involved that it is impossible to list all of them. The talents of the late Sal Caltabiano, architect; Bob Siegler, the first president; Brownie Foster, librarian who set up the initial system; Arthur Reeve, attorney; and the late George Meadows, realtor, must be acknowledged.
The original hope had been to rent a store as a temporary library. However, during the summer the old Methodist Church building, formerly a YMCA hut from Camp Merritt during World War I, was purchased by the Association for $9,750. The sale was arranged by George Meadows, who advanced the cash for the purchase. He was repaid within three years. This paid for the building, its renovation, equipment, books, furnishings and operating costs of that period. The names of contributors are recorded on plaques in the foyer of the library.
By June, 1966 the renovation of the building was completed. Donated books were sorted and catalogued in the attic of the new Peoples’ Trust Company, now Bank of America.
The municipality can and does contribute to the support of the library, but control lies in the hands of the Board of Trustees. The balance of the budget is raised by the Annual Library Bazaar, a December Brunch, raffles and contributions.The Library is an enduring example of what can be accomplished through volunteerism, hard work, and the continuing financial support of the people of Demarest.
The Association joined the Bergen County Cooperative Library System in 1986. In 2009, a referendum was passed to establish a municipal library. The Demarest Free Public Library was then incorporated and the Association was dissolved. In 2005 the library embarked on a building plan to add a new entrance on Stelfox Street with an elevator making the building handicap accessible. Phase 2 of the project began in late spring 2011 adding a two story addition on the Insley Street side to be completed by the fall of 2011. The new space will add a teen room downstairs and expand the adult reading area and add a conference room upstairs.
The Demarest Community
The Borough of Demarest is named after an early French Huguenot settler, David des Martes. Demarest is a residential community located in north-east Bergen County approximately 16 miles north of New York City. The 2.1 square mile community is 8 miles from the George Washintong Bridge. It is bordered on the north by Closter, the south by Cresskill, the west by Haworth and the east by Alpine. According to Demarest borough Census 2010 results, the population of the area is 4,88l people. 3,540 residents or 72.5% are over 18 and 1,341 or 27.5% residents are under 18. From 2000 to 2010 the borough population growth percentage was 0.7% from 4,845 people to 4,881 people.
The municipality has 3 elementary schools; County Road School for grades K-1, Luther Lee Emerson School for grades 2-4 and the Demarest Middle School for grades 5-8. Demarest is also home to Northern Valley Regional High School, bringing together students from Demarest, Haworth and Closter.
The Baptist Church, St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church are the houses of worship.
Demarest is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The government consists of a Mayor, elected by the residents to a four-year term of office and a Borough Council comprised of six council members, with all the positions elected at large. The Borough Council members are elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year. The Borough employs 17 regular full time policemen. The Fire Department and Emergency Squad are manned by volunteers.
The Demarest Public Schools serve students in Kindergarten through eighth grade. Schools in the district are County Road School with 132 Kindergarten and first grade students, Luther Lee Emerson School with an enrollment of 215 students in grades 2-4 and Demarest Middle School which serves 314 students in grades 5-8. Over 1200 students in public school grades 9-12 attend Northern Valley High School at Demarest together with students from Closter and Haworth. The Academy of the Holy Angels is a private high school for girls located in Demarest. The school has an enrollment of 540 students and operates under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Archdioceses of Newark.
Goals & Objectives 2015 – 2019
The Strategic Planning Committee has identified ten strategic focal areas.
Goal I—COLLECTIONS AND PROGRAMMING.
- The Library will encourage life-long learning and the pursuit of knowledge. We will use best practices for maintaining and expanding our collections.
- We will partner with schools to ensure the library is meeting the curriculum needs of Demarest students.
- The Library will expand its programming for adults and children by offering tech classes for adults and book club for middle schoolers.
- The Library will hire appropriate staff to expand hours to seven days a week, adding Wednesday evening and Saturday morning hours.
Goal II—COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT, PARTNERSHIPS, AND COLLABORATIONS.
- The Library will collaborate with librarians from Closter and Haworth to present an assembly in September at the high school level introducing students to the offerings at the Library.
- We will collaborate with school media specialists to ensure our collections meet the needs of the Demarest students.
- We will partner with the Historical Society to display area artifacts and photographs showing the rich history of the Demarest area.
- We will support and enhance artistic and cultural activities which benefit the local community. We will use the library as a display for school art projects.
- We will continue to reach out to groups for ideas and feedback.
- We will create a “Friends of the Library” group.
Goal III: COMMUNICATING THE VALUE OF THE LIBRARY.
- The Library will issue a staff-generated newsletter quarterly. This will be sent via USPS to all residents and will also be available electronically on the library website.
- The Library will use a listserv of library patrons to send out announcements and important information.
- The Library will continue its use of social media: Facebook, Instgram.
- The library will add a “Library Resources Information Packet” to the Welcome Wagon to inform new residents of Library hours and offerings.
- There will be a “Library Corner” feature in the weekly PTO newsletter.
- The Library will continue to use the town information board to announce hours, programs, and monthly board of trustee meetings.
Goal IV: LIBRARY AS AN ANCHOR IN THE COMMUNITY.
- The Library wants to create a safe, welcoming place for the community to gather in an emergency. We will install a generator as emergency backup for all systems and make sure the community is aware of it.
- Feature our meeting room to different groups as a potential meeting place.
- Provide English as a Second Language training (ESL) through both classroom instruction and conversation groups. Continue to identify the diversity in Demarest and offer appropriate materials.
- The Library should be a place where people can go to find out about government services like health care, taxes, etc.
Goal V: TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION.
- The Library will continue to offer the latest in technology.
- Our website and Facebook page will continue to be updated with fresh posts and relevant information. We will expand into Instagram to attract high schoolers to follow us.
- Our Technical Services Librarian will offer technology training to any patron in need. We will offer “Tech Classes” for adults and “Tech Hints” in our newsletter and on our website.
Goal VI: FACILITY AND CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS.
- The Library has made many upgrades to the building with the completion of construction of the addition in 2012.
- The Library will continue to provide a safe environment for patrons and staff.
- The Library will install a generator as emergency backup for all systems.
- Addressing the lack of parking will be a long term goal.
Goal VII: CUSTOMER SERVICE.
- Hire and maintain a motivated staff.
- In response to patron request, we will expand hours to include Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. This will allow us to be open seven days per week.
- Our staff will continue to relate to our customers in a friendly, professional way.
- We will provide excellent customer service by empowering the library staff through training, workshops, and regular staff meetings.
- We will provide clear guidelines for uniform staff behavior by the ongoing review of library policies adopted by the Library Board and through staff meetings.
Goal VIII: FUNDING.
- The Library Board of Trustees will continue its prudent stewardship of Municipal funds.
- The Library will continue to pursue grant opportunities to fund major initiatives.
Goal IX: MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP.
- The Library will maintain a highly motivated and professional staff.
- The Library Board of Trustees will create, review and amend Library policies and procedures on an ongoing basis.
- The Library Board will seek out motivated library supporters and make recommendations to the mayor when a vacancy on the Board of Trustees becomes available.
Goal X: EVALUATION.
The overall intent of this strategic plan is to increase our presence in the community. Our mission states that we are a community destination. For this plan to be truly successful we need to assess and evaluate the plan and make adjustments along the way to better serve the community. The Board of Trustees will review this plan at the end of year two in 2016 and year four in 2018 to ensure our actions reflect the goals and objectives set forth in this plan.