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.
Continuing a project that began with yearbooks from what was then known as Red Bank High School, the Red Bank Public Library has now turned its attention to converting the annual volumes of Red Bank Catholic High School to digital format. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
Colleagues in creativity plan to honor the late artist Terry McCue, above, with a bench that overlooks the Navesink River from the Red Bank Public Library, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
To honor of one of their own, the members of a long-standing monthly art class at the Red Bank Public Library plan to install a bench on the institution’s grounds overlooking the Navesink River.
The heirs of manufacturer Sigmund Eisner donated his West Front Street mansion to the library, which opened there on April 15, 1937. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Continuing its comeback from a period of drastic retrenchment, the Red Bank Public Library plans a celebration of the borough’s past Saturday with the reopening of the Local History Room, which was put off-limits due to staff cuts three years ago.
The second-floor room’s return to part-time action is one piece of a daylong schedule of events to mark the institution’s 80th year in its home overlooking our beautiful Navesink River.
Trustees of the library say local taxpayers would still have to foot the cost of the borough facility on West Front Street, above, with access to fewer resources from Monmouth County. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
The question pops up periodically, and did so several times last year in a user survey: would Red Bankers be better off if their library was part of the Monmouth County library system?
Through his foundation, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner below, has pledged $50,000 to the library that bears his family’s name. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
(Press release from the Red Bank Public Library)
The Eisner Memorial Red Bank Public Library started 2016 with a nice surprise: a letter notifying Director Elizabeth McDermott of a five-year, $50,000 donation to the Foundation for the Red Bank Public Library from the Eisner Foundation.
This is the largest donation yet received by the library foundation, with $10,000 being donated annually for five years. More →
Collectibles can be appraised, and records preserved, during a daylong event at the library. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
History and nostalgia will mix and mingle at the Red Bank Public Library on Saturday, October 17, when an antiques-roadshow-style event crosses paths with a records-digitization project.
One part of the event, dubbed “What’s In Your Attic?” and organized by the Friends of the Red Bank Public Library, connects local residents with expert appraisers to offer value estimates on antiques and collectibles.
The other enables patrons to preserve their own photos, films and other memorabilia on digital media.
Continuing its recovery from a period of shrinkage, the Red Bank Public Library will add seven hours to its weekly operations starting July 6. The West Front Street facility will open at 10 a.m. Mondays, three hours earlier than at present, and close at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, four hours later than the present close.
The change was enabled by the resolution of budget issues and the recent hire of several part-time workers, said library Director Elizabeth McDermott. The institution will be open 38 hours per week, still well short of the 54 hours of operation five years ago, she said. Saturday operations, which had been curtailed, were partially restored last October. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
A screengrab of a “popularity poll” page in the 1956 Red Bank High School yearbook. And hey, do you recognize the graduate shown below? (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
History lovers and those prone to the siren song of nostalgia: prepare to fall into a rabbit hole.
The Red Bank Public Library has digitized the yearbooks of the former Red Bank High School and its successor, Red Bank Regional High, from a broad swath of the 20th century.
Forty editions of the annual known as the Round Table and, later, the Log, chronicling changes in hairstyles, fashions and media from 1922 to 1980, can now be downloaded, paged through and word-searched via the Internet, minus the musty aroma.
The first-ever Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball brought together three ex-mayors, the current one and some 250 of their friends at the Oyster Point Hotel Friday night. Among those in attendance: former Councilwoman Sharon Lee and restaurateur Victor Kuo, above, and Pastor John Lock, with Mayor Pasquale Menna, at right.
In a budget presentation, library director Elizabeth McDermott said the institution had recovered from events that “devastated” it in 2014. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
At Wednesday night’s bimonthly meeting of the borough council, Red Bank officials authorized a new hire, passed a passel of bond ordinances and got an update on the public library’s finances a year after a mass resignation of board members.
Those agenda items and more get the bullet-point treatment below…
Nor has it been swamped by red ink. In fact, the institution is doing quite well, says its new director, Elizabeth McDermott, who recently accepted the job on a permanent basis – after first rejecting it – largely because of the turnaround she helped guide.
“The building didn’t fall down,” McDermott told redbankgreen earlier this month, following a meeting at which the board approved a new $1 million budget. “In fact, we’re growing.”
The three living former mayors of Red Bank — Benedict Nicosia, Michael Arnone and Ed McKenna — join Mayor Pasquale Menna as guests of honor at the first annual Mayor’s Charity Ball, going on May 1st.
Press release from Red Bank Mayor’s Ball Committee
Mayor Pat Menna is honoring three of his predecessors — and inviting the community — to the first annual Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball, scheduled for May 1st at The Oyster Point Hotel.
“Our committee is planning a great event and a fun evening, celebrating all things Red Bank,” noted the mayor. “We are fortunate to have three former mayors — Judge Benedict Nicosia, Assemblyman Michael Arnone and Mayor Edward McKenna — still here in the area, and we will be honoring them for their public service.”
Other honorees include Red Bank RiverCenter, which will receive the Outstanding Community Service Award; the Two River Theater, the Cultural and Arts Award; Gerry Eisner, the Historical Legacy Award; Downtown Investors, the Urban Development Award; and Seals Eastern, the Manufacturing and Technology Award.
Descendants of Katharine Elkus White and local officials at Friday’s dedication of the roadway in Marine Park to the late mayor and ambassador. White, seen below in 1948. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Amid reminiscences of a “strong-willed” woman countering the casual sexism of the day, Red Bank’s first and only female mayor, Katharine Elkus White, was honored Friday when the road in Marine Park was named for her.
In a brief ceremony on a cold, blustery afternoon, some of White’s descendants joined local officials in unveiling a wooden sign designating the loop road as “Ambassador Katharine Elkus White Circle.”
The resumption of Saturday service is expected to occur as early as this weekend, officials said. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Moving to reverse one of the more controversial actions of its predecessors, members of the recently reconstituted board of the Red Bank Public Library are expected to clear the way for a resumption of Saturday operations this week.
A special meeting of the board has been scheduled for Thursday evening, solely for the purpose of voting on the proposal. That would allow the facility to be open as soon as this Saturday, acting director Elizabeth McDermott tells redbankgreen.
Photos of Red Bank High School football players, coaches and cheerleaders from the 1940s and ’50s give the lobby display case at borough hall a distinctly autumnal feel.
The exhibit, put together by volunteers from the public library, showcases images taken by RBHS photography teacher Anthony Trufolo. The last display, assembled in June, featured prom pix from Trufolo’s collection. Library director Elizabeth McDermott says the next one, scheduled for January, will spotlight theatrical productions at the school, which merged into a regional school district in 1975.
Do you know any of these folks? (Photos of photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
Red Bank Regional senior and Red Bank resident Kayla Williams is currently working on an oral history project, in alliance with the Red Bank Library.
Press release from Red Bank Regional High School
Each Sunday, area residents flock to the Galleria parking lot to pick the fresh produce at the farmers’ market. Few among the shoppers realize that a similar scene once played out down the road at Marine Park, where boats carried in fruits and vegetables straight from New York City’s markets in the days when Red Bank was an operating port.
That was the memory of 97- year-old Anthony Trufolo, a former Red Bank High School teacher, as recorded by 17 year-old Red Bank resident Kayla Williams, a rising senior at Red Bank Regional High School.
Kayla spent a good part of her summer vacation interviewing and recording the memories of other senior Red Bank residents, in collaboration with the Red Bank Library’s on-going oral history project. She volunteered to participate as she thought it would be interesting and fun. She found it to be all that and, in her words, “just amazing.”
It’s the 60th annual edition of a local favorite – and the organizers of the Red Bank Sidewalk Sale have a special stroll down memory lane built in to this year’s three-day event.
While Red Bank remains an ever-evolving entity — sometimes at a brisker clip than a lot of longtime locals are prepared to digest — one summertime signifier of community life has been soldiering on, uninterrupted, for a frankly amazing 60 years. And in 2014, the Red Bank Sidewalk Sale marks its diamond anniversary with a three-day thriftarama that takes a look back at some of what’s made this town so great and unique.
Think about it: back in 1955, President Ike was dispatching the first U.S. advisors into an obscure place called Vietnam. The Brooklyn Dodgers were gearing up to finally make “next year” a here-and-now reality. School-age kids were promised trips to that new Disneyland place, if they’d just hold still for the equally new polio vaccine. Folks from nearby communities such as New Shrewsbury flocked to the Carlton Theatre to see James Dean light up the screen in East of Eden. And the Red Bank Register reported that the town fathers were planning a study of the ongoing downtown parking issues (let’s hear one for continuity).
Those decades of borough history won’t be trampled underfoot, as scores of shoppers take to the sidewalks of Broad, Monmouth, Front and White streets in search of figurative “diamonds” — that bargain in a box, that folding-table find, that street-rack steal. This Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Red Bank Rivercenter celebrates the occasion with a “trip down memory lane” — and a rolling out of the welcome mat for some exciting new additions to the Sidewalk Sale scene.
Mayor Pasquale Menna, right, swears in new library board members in the Eisner Room. Sara Hansen, center below, with Elizabeth McDermott and Steve Hecht, was chosen board president. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
On a tour of the library during a downpour one day before they were sworn into their posts, trustees witnessed rainwater coming through the ceiling and flooding the basement.
“I wanted board members to see the building,” acting library director Elizabeth McDermott told redbankgreen. What they saw was the hasty deployment of trash cans to catch water dripping from above and “a couple of inches” of water inundating the basement of the former Eisner mansion portion of the srtucture, thanks to faulty drainage from an exterior stairwell.
“It was up to here” in the stairwell, said new trustee Beth Hanratty, indicating a point just below her knee.
Beth Hanratty, below, was named chairperson of the reconstituted board. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
[Correction: Mayor Menna tells redbankgreen that while Beth Hanratty was appointed to fill the unexpired term of board President John Grandits, she was not appointed board president, as reported below. The newly constituted board is expected to elect new officers at its May 1 meeting. redbankgreen regrets the error.]
By JOHN T. WARD
How’s this for a job offer? The work is unpaid. It requires running an institution that at the moment has just lost its director, faces a purported-though-disputed funding shortfall and has possibly too many full-time employees – including two whose jobs recently became a political hot potato.
Oh, and most of the people who last held the position submitted a joint “take-this-job-and-shove-it” resignation letter just last Saturday.
But just four days after that mass exodus by members of the Red Bank Public Library Board of Trustees, Mayor Pasquale Menna appointed four replacements to the board Wednesday evening. More →