By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Deborah Griffin-Sadel pulled a book from a shelf of the Red Bank Public Library, as she and her staff have been doing the last couple months, and surveyed it.
It was a French language book, she said, and “the pictures in it were really dated. The lady was dressed up like Jackie Kennedy. Y’know, men walking around in 1950s-era suits.”
The library is scattered with these kinds of artifacts: books copyrighted in the ’60s, reference materials that pre-date Google and tattered classics that deserve better than to be bound with masking tape.
The library’s latest effort to avert its own obsolescence is to replace those outdated and damaged books with new ones, a move that’s long overdue, said Griffin-Sadel, the library director.
“Over the years the library has become top-heavy with old books,” she said. “We’ve never really had the funding to do a thorough renewal of the collection.”
The opportunity came a couple months ago when the Friends of The Red Bank Public Library library’s Board of Trustees decided to draw about $40,000 from its savings to do a major book swap.
It’ll be a phased project, one that will take about 18 months to complete, Griffin-Sadel said. Library employees have to manually inspect the library’s supply of about 40,000 books to determine which ones are keepers and which ones have outlived their shelf life.
“What we’re doing is pulling every book off the shelf and checking it,” Griffin-Sadel said. “It’s pretty big.”
Doing so will get the library more up to date than usual, she said.
“We’re always ordering books and we’re always going through and weeding out items that are in bad condition and don’t circulate,” she said. “But this is allowing us to go a lot deeper.”
Speaking of new additions at the library, the staff is excited to add some life to one of its bare walls.
A painting by New Jersey artist Gary Komarin, was lent to the library by Sue Shaloum, one of the library’s Friends, who bought it from Komarin. It now hangs on the wall in the staircase downstairs.
It’s called “Dans Le Chambre De Ma Tante,” and has been exhibited all over the world since Komarin painted it in 1992.