December 14, 2003
Welcome, library lovers! I cant think of a better way to spend a snowy afternoon than in the company of friends, opening a new library. (Unless its being curled up in a comfy chair with a good book and a cup of tea, just watching the snow fall.)
Well, we did it! And I do mean WE. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to build a library that will take us through the new millennium.
Assemblywoman Rose Heckhow can I ever thank her??? From her days as a Mayor and Editor of the Observer, to her tour of duty as Assemblywoman in Trenton, she has always been a big library supporter. In her role as Assemblywoman, she has often espoused causes, not because they were politically expedient but because it was just the right thing to do this was the case with libraries. She rightfully was awarded the New Jersey Library Associations highest honor of Library Champion for authoring the bill that provided $45 million for library renovation, construction and expansion and over $700,000 for Hasbrouck Heights Library.
Mayor Torre provided the leadership-were it not for his integrity we would not be standing in this wonderful facility. It was he who promised to explore the idea of a new library building almost 7 years ago. And at great personal and professional cost, he kept his promise. And it was built right the first time. Let it be said, in Hasbrouck Heights, for once it was done right the first time.
The architects who created this beautiful yet practical LibraryAnthony Iovino, Ed Arcari and Rebecca Iovinomust be commended for their skills. The layout of the spaces, the furniture, the very colors on the walls are the result of this distinguished team. So proud are they of these results that they display a large poster of this facility at every presentation they attend!
My Trustees, and in particular, Board President Tom Verrastro have made my job so much easier with their wisdom and support. As most of you know this project has had its fits and starts, but through it all, my board has been nothing less that wonderful in their faith that we were building a library for ALL residents of Hasbrouck Heights to enjoy.
I wish the President of our
Friends of the Library, Susanne Kepsel could have been here! Where would we be without our
friends. Most of you know that our Friends of the Library pay for all of our
childrens programming and event the refreshments for all programming in the Library.
The Friends are now spearheading a fundraising campaign to provide for improved technology
and for additional childrens programs. Who knew five years ago that we would need 22
computers in our library? We currently have state of the art computers. In five years this
will not be the case. Hasbrouck Heights was the first library in Bergen County to be
computerized. Were were the first to have a T1 line. But unless we provide for the future
with the Friends of the Library Endowment Fund, we will not be in the vanguard of
automation for long. There are copies of the Donor Opportunity List at the Front Desk.
When you take a walk around our beautiful new library, take a look at the temporary signs
Last, but certainly not least, I
must salute my Staff. I serve as a first among equals. In a small library no
one can have a prima-donna attitude that any job is beneath or above them. This staff has
gone beyond that. For years theyve put up with substandard conditions and have still
delivered outstanding service. Just ask anyone who uses the library! Part of the reason we
have such an unusually high circulation for the size of our collection is the quality of
the collection. But equally important is the staff that greets and serves our patrons. I
salute the staff of the Free Public Library of Hasbrouck Heights for their intelligence,
for their professionalism and most of all for making the library a place that people WANT
to come back to again and again.
This Library is no Taj Mahal and those who say so have got it all wrongthis is no monument to Dead People. This is a living, breathing, dynamic Temple of Learning and Wisdom. The authors of the 60,000 items within these walls have been granted immortality as long as their works reside here. We are the University of the Common Man. Anyone can enter a library and change their life. We will continue to provide for the educational and informational needs of the people of Hasbrouck Heights, as we have in the past. But now that the residents of Hasbrouck Heights have the library they deserve, we can expand the definition of library to include meeting place, village square and lecture hall.
I know Im preaching to the choir, so to speak, but I ask those of you who braved the storm to be here to spread the word. Tell everyone you know that the Free Public Library of Hasbrouck Heights stands here ready to serve. We are ready for the 21st Century.
As I have said before, good libraries build good communities, and good communities build good libraries. Nowhere is this more evident than today in Hasbrouck Heights.
[Photos] of Library on the move November 17-18, 2003
Hall Ribbon Cutting] [Senior Citizens Ribbon Cutting &
Building Dedication Prayers]