Red Bank library staff and patrons held a sendoff party last week for the retirement of director Elizabeth McDermott, seen above speaking with public utilities director Cliff Keen.

Monmouth County Freeholder John  Curley, a former Red Bank councilman, presented McDermott with a county proclamation recognizing her for, among other accomplishments, leading the library through the most turbulent period in its 81-year history.

Barbara Pickell, above right, has been named interim director while the library’s board of trustees searches for permanent replacement.

Pickell has served as a library director in Wayne Township and in Clearwater, Florida, and joined the Red Bank library a year ago “just looking for something to do.”

Pickell told redbankgreen she values libraries “because I believe they’re a critical part of a democratic society, and provide equity in terms of access to information.”

But they’re also “fun,” she said.

“Nobody drags you into a library,” she said.

McDermott, meantime, said she plans to return to the library as a volunteer after some time off. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)