RbplstairsFor decades, this is what library patrons curious about the upper floors have encountered.

In what were once the demurely separate bedrooms of Mr. & Mrs. Sigmund Eisner, the Red Bank Public Library last year created two new second-floor reading rooms as part of a $1.6 million renovation project.

The idea was to open up for regular use parts of the former Eisner mansion that hadn’t been seen by the public in decades, if ever.

Most notable was the first-floor Eisner Family New Jersey room, a shrine of sorts to

Teutonic taste. But the spacious upstairs East and West reading rooms have remained off-limits, except to the occasional library patron searching for one of the volumes shelved in them.

Those patron have had to be accompanied by a library staffer. Idle browsing was discouraged. Beautiful tables and enticing chairs went unused.

That’s about to change, thanks to pressure from some new members of the library board.

And this is what they’ll see, once the former Eisner bedrooms are opened.

Beginning on or about April 15, adult patrons will be allowed upstairs unaccompanied if they leave a library card or other ID at the front desk.

The change was initiated by John Gosden of Harrison Avenue, who joined the board earlier this year.

“My neighbors were asking me, ‘Why can’t we go upstairs?'” he tells redbankgreen. “I didn’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be open.”

The main stumbling block, says library Director Debbie Griffin-Sadel, has been a lack of staffing to oversee second-floor usage.

“It’s basic security,” she says. “We’re concerned about people doing things they shouldn’t be doing up here.”

Griffin-Sadel says the sign-approach recommended by the board is a good interim solution until the day when all patrons might be able to use the second floor freely.

Also being readied for introduction at the library later this month: a coffee, tea and hot chocolate vending machine for the first floor. Beverages will cost $1 a cup and the coffee is “pretty good stuff,” Griffin-Sadel says.

Both moves, says Gosden, are part of an effort to draw in more residents and make the library “the cultural center of Red Bank.

“I think we have a really good library board, and they want to get really in tune with the people of Red Bank,” he says.

Items under discussion include a survey of public interests and the creation of a ‘Friends of the Library’ panel to help spread the word about programming and maybe even attract donations.

Among the events, by the way, is a screening next Thursday of the Dorn’s Classic Images film “Romance and Red Bank.” Here’s a flier on the screening and a jazz show later this month: Dorn’s/Wright flier


• Here’s the April calendar for activities in the Avice Noblett Children’s Room: Kid’s calendar

• Here’s a flier on an Acoustic Saturdays music series: Acoustic Saturdays

• Finally, here’s a 1937 news story reporting on the donation of the Eisner house to the borough: Article

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