Changing role of public libraries
As people have changed the way in which they seek and acquire information, likewise libraries are redefining the role in they play in our communities.

Today's libraries are places of opportunity that:

provide access to the internet for those who may not have a computer or internet connection in their own home
offer a safe haven for children after school hours as well as the resources they need to succeed educationally
support lifelong learning through the provision of programs and materials
develop early literacy skills through story hours and programs where young children acquire the skills they need to enter school ready to read
create a place for socialization for our older residents who may often be socially isolated in their own homes
help people find all the information needed for work, school or life decisions.
High Demand
More and more people in Fanwood and Scotch Plains are using their libraries each year and in 2008 record numbers of people continued to take advantage of the available services.

In 2008 the Fanwood Memorial Library and the Scotch Plains Public Library together:
Had 21,535 Cardholders - an increase of 31% from 2005 to 2008
Circulated 245,326 items (books, DVDs, CDs, audio books, etc.) - an increase of 13% from 2005 to 2008
Had 12,186 children attend programs - an increase of 120% from 2005 to 2008
Had 219,142 people visit the library - an increase of 28% from 2005 to 2008

Room for improvement
Both Fanwood and Scotch Plains library buildings were constructed prior to the use of computer technology, Scotch Plains in 1966 and Fanwood in 1951. In each case we have had to retrofit our buildings with wiring and cabling to provide access to the internet. The Fanwood Library is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Neither library has adequate meeting space to accommodate the growing demand for programs for all ages. The libraries lack the smaller meeting space that is so valuable in supporting small meetings, accommodating groups of students working on team projects, creating quiet study areas, hosting tutoring sessions, or providing convenient space for small business meetings.

Although we have done our best to provide access to public computing, we are unable to accommodate additional computers or to provide the level of access and training that is available in other area libraries with dedicated computer labs.

Both buildings lack the energy efficiencies found in newer buildings.

Comfortable, relaxing seating that is in demand by today's library users are also in short supply.

Both libraries lack adequate space to display current collections effectively and have no room to allow for continued growth or additional services.

Planning for the future
Since 2005 the public libraries in Fanwood and Scotch Plains have been collaborating to improve the delivery of library services to people in both communities. Together the library directors have secured $84,638 in Share Grant funds from the State Department of Community Affairs to support:
a shared computerized system for the online library catalog and to manage the check out and return process.
purchase and development of online content databases such as The Joint Digital Archives (, Historical New York Times, genealogy databases and NextReads electronic reader's advisory service.
coordinated policies, joint collection development and shared purchasing which yielded the new Travel Guides collection; PlayAways (books in a portable, self-contained mp3 unit), better fulfillment of popular titles.
popular programs like the Movies in May Film Festival, Book Beats, and other shared programming initiatives.
cooperative programs between the libraries and schools to improve every child's opportunity for educational success.
collaborative staff training, continuing education workshops, more peer to peer support and planning for more streamlined and efficient library service.
the provision of more effective, seamless economical library services to all residents of both communities at either location.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss our project with you.
If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to
CONTACT us at any time: