Middletown gala benefits ‘Reimagining Your Library’ campaign

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MIDDLETOWN — The Middletown Township Public Library welcomed honorees, local officials, staff and guests to its Black & White Masquerade Gala on Oct. 28 at Jacques Reception Center.

The event marked the library’s 101st year with an awards presentation, dancing and raffle drawings. All proceeds from the evening benefited the library’s “Reimagining Your Library” campaign, according to a press release.

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Library Director Heather Andolsen presented four awards to members of the Middletown community who exemplify the community’s spirit of generosity in business and philanthropy, and their dedication to education and historic preservation, according to the press release.

• Craig Palmer, principal of St. Mary’s School, was presented with the Joyce P. Murphy Imagination in Education Award. The award is presented in memory of Middletown Township Public Library Children’s Department employee Joyce P. Murphy.

• Tony Panzica, a longtime Middletown resident and benefactor to the Middletown World Trade Center Memorial Gardens, received the Outstanding Philanthropist Award.

• The Saker family, owners and operators of Saker ShopRite stores, were recognized with the Business Generosity Award for their charitable endeavors combating ALS and childhood blindness, along with their steadfast support of local food banks.

• The Friends of the Cedar View Cemetery were presented with the Historic Preservation Award in recognition of their years-long effort to restore the historic Cedar View Cemetery in Lincroft.

The gala was the kickoff event for the library’s “Reimagining Your Library” campaign, which will fund an internal redesign of the library’s reference area, according to the press release.

The proposed redesign is inspired by feedback library officials received in a community survey that was circulated in 2022. The redesign will allow for more communal and individual spaces for patrons. To learn more about the campaign, visit mtpl.org.

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