22 Aug 2014
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New Library Director Has Big Plans

Mary Witherell intends to make the library accessible to all of Wyckoff with new programs and technology.

New Library Director Has Big Plans

The Wyckoff Library will be about double its previous size, host many more events, have comfortable new furniture, a better wifi connection, contain other new technology such as e-readers, a video game collection and include dedicated areas for teens, children and meeting spaces once the renovations are complete, according to new Library Director Mary Witherell.

Construction is still in progress and on schedule to be finished early 2012. While not all of the plans are set in stone yet, Witherell told Patch she hopes to incorporate features in the new library that will attract many different people.

"Whatever we can do to entice the community to use this library more— that's what I'm all about," Witherell said.

In addition to more events for children and teenagers, Witherell said she plans to start more programs for adults, such as computer education classes.

Of course, most of these changes won't be able to happen until the renovations are complete. In the meantime, Witherell is busy planning decisions on what to include in the new space.

"I like the idea of doing a very broad variety of programming—things that you may not even think of for a library—that's the kind of stuff that is most exciting to me," Witherell said.

Coming into a library as the director while it is under renovation is unusual, but Witherell said the task of taking over now is not a burden, but a blessing.

"To come in with this wonderful change happening to the library is a little scary, but it's also awesome," Witherell said. "I feel like I'm the luckiest librarian in New Jersey."

Prior to joining the Wyckoff Library, Witherell was the director of the Kemmerer Library in Harding Township while she simultaneously went to Rutgers for her master of library and information science degree. Before that, she worked in the magazine industry (including publications like Ladies' Home Journal and Self) as a managing editor for more than 20 years.

As she continues preparing for the new library, Witherell said she will be reaching out to the commnity, meeting with groups and library patrons to see what they would like from the space. Hopefully, she said, the library will be able to find other local groups to partner with on programs, even some that may seem unsual for a typical library.

"I don't any kind of rules in my head about 'we can do this' or 'we can't do that,'" Witherell said. "I'm open to anything."

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