Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Reception to Honor Retiring Children’s Librarian

After thirteen years as Bernardsville Library’s much loved Youth Services Coordinator, Michaele Casey retired from full-time service at the end of 2010. The library’s Board of Trustees, the Friends of the Bernardsville Library, and members of the staff are planning a reception in her honor on Wednesday, January 19 from 4:30 to 6:00 pm. “Hundreds of children’s lives were touched and enriched by Mrs. Casey’s programs and encouragement at the library,” says Library Director Karen Brodsky, “We hope that many of them and their parents will come to the reception to show their appreciation of her impact here. We will miss her.”

Mrs. Casey received her Masters in Library Science from Rutgers University and worked at the Somerville and Raritan Public Libraries before coming to Bernardsville. In addition to conceiving and running many of the library’s programs, in which she was assisted by Anne Post and Felicia Ballard, Mrs. Casey was active on the state level of the New Jersey Library Association (NJLA). She worked on and later chaired various state committees including the very successful Summer Reading Programs, from the time they were implemented on a regional basis for the Highlands Regional Library Cooperative to 2002 and beyond, when they went statewide. She was also instrumental in winning a number of grants for Bernardsville Library for a program she dubbed “Start Helping English Language Learners Succeed (SHELLS)” which followed closely on the heels of CLAMS or “Collecting Listening and Audiovisual Materials.” Both grants supported her passion for developing early literacy skills, and in 2009 she won statewide recognition for her efforts by a State Senate Resolution which named Bernardsville Library as a winner of the New Jersey State Library’s contest on Best Practices in Early Childhood Literacy. At the ceremony, the library was cited for its “dedication and commitment to the early reader experiences of preschool children in its community.” Only four New Jersey libraries were so honored.

Asked what she would do in her retirement, Mrs. Casey responded, “Now I’ll have time to read all the adult books that surrounded me at the library, but I didn’t have a chance to read!” She will also maintain her connection with Bernardsville Library as a part-time Youth Services Coordinator.

Everyone is welcome to attend the reception on January 19. People who would like to come should RSVP to the library at 908-766-0118 by January 15. Mrs. Casey has asked that donations be made directly to the library in lieu of gifts.

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