muriel j smith 120 2018Libraries are pretty exciting places anywhere in Monmouth County, given that most are either members or branches of the Monmouth County Library system and can take advantage of so much the County has to offer. But in the end, it’s always the people that make the difference between a great experience and an outstanding adventure.  Which is one more reason why Atlantic Highlands has so much to offer!

You see it at first with the children. They’re all over the library…on computers, reading books, watching Goldie and Nemo, the goldfish swimming happily in their bowl right next to a Matisse artwork of yes, g

oldfish in a bowl!  You see it in the youngster who has drawn a miniature yo yo out of a library treasure box, then  eagerly shows it to librarian Jane Reynolds simply for affirmation or a desire to tell someone about something she enjoyed.  Then you see Jane Reynolds stop what she’s doing to take the time to share that moment of happiness with the little girl.

That’s when you realize it’s the people.  So stop in and get to know Jane a little more. And see that the  other wonderful folks that work there…Faye Sacco, Phyllis Lamarche and Liz Deignan, together with Danielle Rosito who comes in to put books away and keep things orderly, and Lauren Garcia, the children’s librarian there two days a week, all have that same sparkle, that same enthusiasm, that same love for both books and people that truly put a bit of joy in a day.

jane reynoldsPHOTO:  Jane Reynolds

Jane has been with the Library since the days when she was a teacher’s aide at the elementary school and worked part time when Marilyn Scherfen, another great lady,  headed up the library.  It was in the lower level of Borough Hall then, until all the renovations got underway and it was moved to the Fireman’s Field House for a couple of years. Now ensconced in sun-filled rooms adorned with artwork from the masters, local talented enthusiasts and children, the library is convenient to all on the upper level of borough hall and worth a visit if only to stop and say hello.  Check out the word on the little card on the counter; there’s a new one there every day along with its definition so you can’t help but learn something new even by accident!  There’s something for everyone at this library regardless of interests,  and groups to join, hobbies to pursue, or simply company to enjoy.

Jane and her staff are environmentally conscious and caring as well. So you know when you first go in that plastic..be it straws or bags…simply isn’t allowed. You can see where the very clever Friends of the Library have designed some wonderful canvas bags for book toting; buying a bag not only eliminates plastic bags but also serves as a fundraiser for the Friends who do so much to enhance the library with their activities.

A favorite nook on the far side of the room…just before going out to the wonderfully bright and cheery meeting room, is the Eleanor Huson Art Corner, dedicated to another long time and very talented local artist, now deceased but still beloved in her artwork on display. Right now, there’s also a spectacular display of the works of the Monmouth County Arts High, a touring exhibit by the Arts & Education Center  in Matawan. Take the time to browse through both visual arts and photography and restore your faith in the talent and wisdom of teenagers. Seek out Samantha Akers and Madison Boylan’s work, or Emily Churak and Clay Kline’s talent. They’re all students at Henry Hudson, so it’s home-grown and appreciated talent.

Besides the 10,000 or more books that are on the well kept and brightly lit shelves of the library, there’s easy access to everything the County has to offer either on line, or if you like to hold a book in your hand and it isn’t here, let the librarian know…she’ll get it from another library and have it there for you quickly.  Of course, because it’s a County library, there’s even access to everything from home, day or night.  But it’s so much more fun to stop in and see, feel and hear the friendship that fills the room.

Jane says she loves her job because every day is different, she loves talking to everyone and hearing what they have to say….Jane is the kind of person who truly listens. She likes the host of different things that happen every day…those that are in the plans, and those that just, well, happen.  It’s all interesting, she’ll tell you. Then she’ll chuckle a bit and give you an unusual example to ponder: “we’re kind of like bartenders,  we share stories and we love to chat with people. We just don’t do it with a glass of beer on the counter.”

The Atlantic Highlands Branch of the Monmouth County Library….another fascinating fact about Atlantic Highlands.