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The Morris County Library celebrated 100 years of service this past weekend with music, crafts and a presentation of honors by state, county and local officials during a day-long event at the library’s main building in Whippany.
State Sen. Anthony Bucco and Assemblywoman Aura Dunn offered congratulatory remarks with Morris County Board of Commissioners Director Tayfun Selen, Deputy Director John Krickus and Commissioner-Elect Christine Myers. They presented honors to the library, handing them to Director Darren O’Neill, library staff and members of the Morris County Library Foundation.
“I’m proud to be here today, inside this treasured institution, praising a century of operations,” said Director Selen, noting that when the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a statewide shutdown, the library was one of the county operations residents pushed to reopen quickly.
Key Dates in the 100-Year History of the Morris County Library
“It was a tribute to how important the Morris County Library has become to people since the days Edith L. Smith – who became the county’s first librarian in July 1922 – first started loaning out books from the library’s original Morristown location,” Director Selen said. “People grew to appreciate and rely on what is offered here, from the days towns relied on book mobiles to bring our library resources into their communities, to today’s on-line databases providing Library patrons remote access to our resources.”
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The Morris County Library Commission first met in 1922 and opened its headquarters in Morristown, two years after the New Jersey Legislature approved the establishment of county libraries and one year after Morris County voters approved creating a county library. On July 1, 1922, Edith L. Smith was hired as the first Morris County Library director and librarian, as post she held until 1956, and three rooms in the Morris County Courthouse were provided as the central office of the library.
The library’s current operations on East Hanover Avenue in Whippany were built in 1968.
Director Selen presented the Library with a Resolution of Honor from the board, as Sen. Bucco and Assemblywoman Dunn presented a Joint Resolution of the New Jersey Senate and Assembly recognizing the Library’s centennial celebration.
"I look forward to a bright future for the Morris County Library knowing that there is such strong support for its collection, staff, and services. Being able to serve as its Director is the highlight of my career and an honor for which I am incredibly grateful,” said Library Director Darren O’Neill.
The event was punctuated by music from a jazz quartet and a rare performance of Franz Schubert's String Quintet in C major, D. 956.
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Brian T. Murray
Director of Communications
County of Morris