In 1997 the library celebrated 75 years of service as an incorporated public entity. Much has changed since the era of the flappers, Warren G. Harding's presidency and the Babe, but a constant remains-the heavy use the public library receives and its central position in Teaneck daily life. People borrowed 442,000 items from the library in 1997, a new record for a banner year. People attended a wide variety of programs through the year to be informed, entertained, and to enjoy their neighbor's company. The library noted its anniversary by commissioning a coverlet of Teaneck scenes. The coverlet, which features prominent Teaneck landmarks, was produced by the firm We Love Country. It remains on sale at the library.
On September 27, the library held a ceremony in its courtyard to mark its 75th anniversary. The day was also the occasion for the dedication of the Children's Room as the Brad and Peter K. Menkes Children's Room. The Menkes Family has been active in community life for years. They have also been supporters of the library through establishment of an endowment in honor of Peter who died in his twenties in an automobile accident. In early 1997, Brad Menkes, former Teaneck councilman, died and the library's Board of Trustees decided to honor the family's long term community service by renaming the Children's Room. County Executive Pat Schuber, Mayor Paul Ostrow, and other dignitaries attended the ceremony.
1997 was also a banner year for gifts to the library. Your Library received a number of gifts which enabled the library to maintain and enhance services. First word was received in 1997 about the bequest made to the library from the estate of Mayer Brown. While the full news wasn't revealed until March of 1998 and hence will be covered in next year's report his gift is the largest in the library's history. Russell Lee made a generous contribution to honor his late parents, Virginia and Clarence Lee. Funds from the gift were utilized to acquire a number of gardening books, with assistance from the Teaneck Garden Club. Sue Brody again made a gift to the library in honor of her husband, Arthur. The compact disc collection, which now numbers nearly 7,000, was the focus of the gift. The family of Grace Pologe presented the library with a beautiful wooden sculpture which graces the library courtyard. The New Jersey Council on the Humanities selected your library as one of five in the state to receive a set of 75 books that were nominated for New Jersey book of the year. The Balter Foundation made a gift to permit the library to add a number of works of contemporary poetry.
In 1997 access to the Internet was expanded so that residents could sign up for one of three terminals. People accessing the web used the service to an increasing degree during the course of the year. The library began switching from "dumb" terminals to personal computers at all service desks and at catalog terminals as the system was upgraded to take advantage of the Internet. At year end, scheduled upgrading of the remaining catalog terminals was in place for 1998. Also on tap was an upgrade in the phone line to provide T-1 (high speed) service instead of the 56k line that was used in 1997. At seminars on using the Internet, the library stressed that its service was much better than what you'd find at home with AOL, Prodigy, and other Internet providers.
The Library's Virtual Village Project made major advancements in 1997 due to the efforts of Teaneck H.S. students Greg Pelly and Cherie Vargas. The former served as Web master for the library's Home Page, which features links to New Jersey information sites, a full copy of the report you are now reading, and an increasing amount of historical material on Teaneck. The latter consists largely of photographs--Mayors, parks, uniformed services, etc. The library's Web page attracted email and queries from as far afield as Michigan, Arizona, and Stockholm, Sweden. Visit us at www.teaneck.org.
The Friends of the Library continued to be an active organization in 1997. Many people attended their film screenings that were held year round in the library auditorium. Their fall book sale was a highly successful community event. Consider joining today!
As always, the Children's Department provided a tremendous level of service to the Teaneck community. Their programs, collections, and other activities drew hordes of people year round. It is a great challenge to keep up with the demands for service and the workload involved. It is a very positive burden as the library is delighted to see so many children using this facility.
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