The Struggle To Modernize America
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The Struggle To Modernize America

One Employee of One Small Town's Library at a Time

The Struggle To Modernize America

FANWOOD, NJ - Director of Fanwood Memorial Library Dan Weiss, in his 19th year at the helm, is leading the charge for a bold new initiative to ultimately make the library a “community hub” for Fanwood residents.

With the library’s current building built in 1951 and now without a renovation since 1980, Weiss sees an opportunity to transform the library into a more accessible, spacious and overall attractive place to be more for children, teens and adults alike.

After receiving valuable feedback from Fanwood residents after a community survey was released, the Library Board developed a Strategic Plan. An architect then engaged the Board’s Plan to undertake a Feasibility Project in order to collectively see the possibilities to meet the needs of the community.

Weiss detects an opportunity to seize upon Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr’s instrumental work in revitalizing the downtown and fighting for the One Seat Ride to further stimulate Fanwood with an engaging library.

The vision is multi-faceted. With multiple additions to the building, the library will be able to address varying needs for the different age demographics. “While the function of the library has changed some in the 21st Century, the library remains to serve all people at all times of life. It is still an asset to our community. We are busier than ever,” championed Weiss.

With renovations, the children’s section will be moved upstairs with the main library. That way, with a more laid-out space, children would be able to play and have Storytime while their adult parents can be in another section while still able to keep an eye on the kids. The adult section would include space for quiet reading and other programming. Adults can also capitalize on the space to meet with clients, neighbors or peers with free Wi-Fi available. And a dedicated teen space would be allotted, complete with a TV, gaming, and computers.

Ample tables and space would be available for community groups to hold meetings, and for tutoring and studying to take place.

Weiss also aims to make the library more energy efficient.

Already successful programs such as concerts, lectures, storytelling festivals and a robotics program garner much support, but Weiss envisions “more access to movie festivals, a gallery wall for local artists to display their work and more access to more space in general.”

The model for the new library is categorized into access, infrastructure repairs and space. Where is the library now with the plans?

“Some sort of investment will be made in the 2017 budget. The Town Council will also be meeting with an architect. Some real changes could be coming soon,” exclaimed Weiss.

Fanwood Memorial Library held two public information meetings over the summer to discuss with residents the vision held and the plans in store.

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