National Medal for Museum and Library Service Recognizes Long Branch Free Public Library’s Community Contributions
The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced The Long Branch Free Public Library of Long Branch, NJ as one of eight recipients of the 2023 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. Over the past 29 years, the award has celebrated institutions that are making a difference for individuals, families, and communities.
“IMLS is delighted to announce the eight worthy recipients of the 2023 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, including Long Branch Free Public Library,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper “Long Branch has redefined its relation to and services for the community in imaginative, engaging, and uplifting ways.”
The Long Branch Free Public Library is a vital institution of the City of Long Branch with a mission to meet the needs of many users, from toddlers to seniors, and ensuring inclusivity and engagement for all. The library recognizes the ever-evolving characteristics of the city it serves by creating relevant services and programs, including the Back to Business Initiative, Fade to Books Literacy Program, Fresh Start Reentry Service, and Community Connects Social Services, making LBFPL the first NJ public library to hire a full-time social worker.
“This prestigious award is a testament to the impactful work of the Long Branch Free Public Library staff, volunteers, and trustees who work tirelessly to create a space that fosters lifelong learning and strengthens the social fabric of our community” said Tonya Garcia, Library Director of the Long Branch Free Public Library. “It underscores the vital role that libraries play in transforming lives and empowering individuals to achieve their full potential. With renewed determination, we will continue to serve as a beacon of knowledge, a catalyst for creativity, and a pillar of support for all.”
Selected from 30 national finalists, the 2023 National Medal for Museum and Library Service winners represent institutions that provide dynamic programming and services that exceed expected levels of service. Through their community outreach, these institutions bring about change that touches the lives of individuals and helps communities thrive. The award will be presented to the staff of the Long Branch Free Public Library at a ceremony this summer in Washington, DC.
“We are extremely grateful for this incredible recognition and honored to bring the National Medal of Museum and Library Service home to the city of Long Branch,” said Long Branch Mayor John Pallone. The timing is impeccable as we embark on major renovations to the library that will allow us to expand our top-notch services even further in a beautiful and more accessible space.”
The Long Branch Free Public Library had previously been awarded a $3.1 million-dollar matching grant from the NJ Library Construction Bond Act.
“As one of 36 historical and original Carnegie libraries built in New Jersey and one of the last in the country built with the funds awarded by a grant from Andrew Carnegie and the Carnegie foundation, it was important that the restorations feature some of the original grandeur, while creating a more effective and useful expanse,” President of the Long Branch Free Public Library Board of Trustees Roberto Ferragina.
Renovations to the 23,500 square foot library will include a business and career center, local history room, additional reading spaces, and a new teen area. Improvements will also be made to fully reclaim the lower level, which suffered water damage during past catastrophic storms. The improvements will include a new HVAC system, waterproofing, and a new emergency generator. Two levels of the building will be renovated, with an open floor plan, new furniture, and ADA compliance.
“Our library stands out for its unique services it offers to our diverse community, including social services, career development, and support for businesses. With funding from the Library Reconstruction Bond Act, we look forward to expanding our services even further” concluded Tonya Garcia.
During the renovations, residents are encouraged to visit the library at their temporary home located in the new Health & Technology Center at 131 Bath Avenue or at the Elberon Branch at 168 Lincoln Ave.
For more information, please visit www.longbranchlib.org or contact Tonya Garcia at email@example.com or 732.222.3900 x2240
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
The Long Branch Free Public Library has served as a community anchor for over 100 years. Located on the beautiful Jersey Shore, the library consists of both the Main Carnegie Library and Elberon Branch. LBFPL is where innovation and tradition meet, creating nationally recognized services and programs to help individuals achieve their full potential.