MILLTOWN– For nearly two years, the Milltown Public Library has operated with limited contact by hosting virtual events and programs. Now, with public spaces reemerging from the social restrictions of COVID-19, the library is encouraging the local community to stop by.
Library Director Charlie Leckenby said the library’s staff and diverse selection of literary content and clubs ensure that all visitors are welcome. Plus, with the addition of in-person programming, both adults and children can get involved with fun activities.
“We have the latest best-sellers, newspapers and magazines, and we have a great staff who are friendly and knowledgeable. We also have a meeting room where various clubs meet each week, like an art club, knitting club and we have a monthly adult book club. All of them are open to new members. And if you want to start your own club, our meeting room is free.
“We are beginning to offer more in-person programming after having been mostly virtual the last two years. We had a live acoustic band the other night, and we have been offering a monthly ‘Read with a Dog’ program for young children, where we have therapy dogs come to the library and kids can sit with them and read them a book. We just started a LEGO club, and we have a monthly crafting program for children,” Leckenby said.
Leckenby, who became the director on Feb. 7, said the library is an educational haven that supports learning and positively impacts communities. He said the library is an all-inclusive space for everyone, regardless of their background.
“Libraries are a place that anyone can come to, no matter their socio-economic, political or educational level, and find something to educate or entertain them, and for free. They are also a place that the community can gather in, for meetings, music, or learning,” he said.
While in college, the tranquil and friendly atmosphere of the library is what inspired Leckenby to pursue his career as a librarian. He said the library is of special importance on both a personal and professional level.
“My first work study in college was shelving books at my university library. I loved the environment of the library – the books, the patrons, the staff, the architecture – and decided that if I had to be somewhere every day making a living, it might as well be a library.
“Libraries are important to me professionally because I believe they are a bastion of freedom: they allow the freedom to read and learn what you want, but also, they protect those freedoms. Libraries have always stood up for people’s right to access information.
“Personally, libraries have always been a place I feel at home: I can walk into any library in the country and know that I can find something to read, or find an answer to a question,” he said.
According to Leckenby, the Milltown Library is affiliated with several other libraries in Middlesex County. This collaborative network grants Milltown library cardholders’ access to the shelves of over 30 libraries.
“If you have a Milltown library card, you can borrow material from more than 30 other libraries. That’s like having free access to hundreds of thousands of books and movies,” Leckenby said.
For more information on the Milltown Library, visit https://lmac.ent.sirsi.net/client/en_US/milltown