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East Brunswick Public Library Foundation Sponsors Library Fine Elimination Program For Children and Teens

East Brunswick Public Library Foundation Sponsors Library Fine Elimination Program For Children and Teens
East Brunswick Public Library customers will not have to pay overdue fines for children’s and teen items checked out at the library.

Since first opening its doors in 1967, East Brunswick Public Library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center) has strived to promote literacy to library users of all ages. The East Brunswick Public Library Foundation has removed one barrier: eliminating overdue fines on items for children and teenagers.

“The East Brunswick Public Library Foundation is constantly looking for new ways to support our library,” said Tracy L. Fink, Foundation Board President. “Sponsoring a unique program like this is a great way to give back to the library and to give the children in our community the gift of literacy.”

East Brunswick Public Library customers will not have to pay overdue fines for children’s and teen items checked out at the library.  The goal is to increase library usage in families by removing the fines, allowing children and families to have more access to library materials. According to Fink, this is a pilot program that runs through the rest of 2018.

“There are a few public libraries that have been experimenting with eliminating library fines,” said East Brunswick Public Library Director Jennifer Podolsky. ”Studies have shown that libraries have a positive impact on child development. Anything that we can do to increase accessibility to the library for families is important, as removing barriers to access is a key component of our strategic plan.”

East Brunswick Public Library joins Camden County Library as the only public library in New Jersey that do not offer library fines for children and teen items. East Brunswick is the only library in the Libraries of Middlesex Automation Consortium that provides this to its cardholders.

“By sponsoring this program, the East Brunswick Public Library Foundation has really done something that will impact many families in town,” Fink added. “We’re happy that this announcement coincides with National Library Week (April 8-14).”  

Although overdue fines will not be charged, fees for lost and damaged items remain. Overdue notices will still be sent as reminders to return items. Items not returned within 21 days of the due date are considered lost, and the full cost of the item will be charged to the library customer’s account.

Established in 2009, the East Brunswick Public Foundation works to mobilizes private support to enhance innovative programs and services, while helping the library remain vibrant and responsive in an ever-changing world. Most recently, the foundation sponsored a library visit with bestselling children’s author and “Arthur” creator Marc Brown. Information about supporting or joining the East Brunswick Public Library Foundation can be found online at www.ebplfoundation.org

East Brunswick Librarian Named “Mover and Shaker” By Library Journal

East Brunswick Librarian Named “Mover and Shaker” By Library Journal
Library Journal named East Brunswick Public Library’s Information Manager Karen Parry as one of fifty “Movers and Shakers” in libraries in the magazine’s March issue

Library users in Middlesex County have known for years about the innovative services that East Brunswick Public Library librarians provide. One East Brunswick Public Library employee is receiving national attention.

Library Journal named East Brunswick Public Library’s Information Manager Karen Parry as one of fifty “Movers and Shakers” in libraries in the magazine’s March issue. The honor celebrates librarians that are transforming what libraries deliver and how they interact with the communities they serve.

Parry, an East Brunswick resident, has been part of East Brunswick Public Library since 2001. She was named a “Mover and Shaker” for starting the library’s “Just for the Health of It!” consumer health and wellness information initiative in 2009.

“The initiative has a personal beginning. When my mother was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor, I realized how difficult it is to search for reliable health care information,” said Parry. “Soon after, I also noticed that the town’s demographics were changing, with more elderly and new immigrant patrons asking our librarians for more understandable health information.”

“Just for the Health of It” is a consumer health research service, connecting library customers with information about their medications, tips on how to improve their wellness and programs. Through the program, library customers are provided information from librarians on staff that are certified by the Medical Library Association’s Consumer Health Information Specialization Program. While they do not conduct diagnoses or make healthcare recommendations, the librarians can research and provide information about healthcare topics so library customers can make informed decisions.

With a goal of providing equal access to trustworthy health and wellness information that is culturally and linguistically appropriate, Parry put together a comprehensive outreach plan. The librarians share information at several outreach visits in the community month. The library also regularly hosts workshop, featuring healthcare professionals who discuss pertinent medical topics for all ages, from infants through seniors. 

The “Just for the Health of It!” program was cited as a model program by the New Jersey Hospital Association in an award in 2017.  Healthier Middlesex, a consortium between Robert Wood Johnson and Saint Peter’s University Hospitals, has made public libraries part of their three-year Community Health Improvement Plan,  with the goal of expanding “Just for the Health of It!” throughout Middlesex and Somerset Counties.

“Our library staff is always developing new programs and initiatives to better serve our community,” said Jennifer Podolsky, East Brunswick Public Library Director. “Our staff and Library Board of Trustees are very proud that the success of Karen and ‘Just For The Health Of It!’ has been recognized on a national level.”

Library Journal’s Movers and Shakers list first debuted in 2001. Parry joins thirty other librarians who have been named Movers and Shakers.
Information about upcoming Just for the Health of It! programs, resources and services can be found online at www.wellinks.org


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