Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A Message from Library Board President Betty Carillo

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of long-time Library Board Trustee Phyllis Dain earlier this year.  Phyllis passed away at the age of 88 although her vitality belied her age.

Those of you who perhaps only knew Phyllis for her work in town should know that she brought a great deal of accomplishment with her.  Her career was dedicated to libraries and the important work they do.   She received her doctorate from Columbia University in Library Science and later served on the faculty of the School of Library Service, retiring as Professor Emerita.  She authored several books about the New York Public Library as well as on the American public library in the information age.  The American Library Association honored her with an award in her name as she was widely known as a supportive advisor and mentor as well as a rigorous scholar and thinker.

But for those of us in Leonia, she was so much more.   She served on the Library Board of Trustees from 1976 until close to her passing.  She helped us to uphold the principles of libraries.  She worked tirelessly on every task no matter how large or small.  She served several terms as President as well as Secretary.  She co-chaired the major fundraiser of the library for the renovation in 2001, raising about $300,000.

She also co-chaired the centennial events in 1994.  For those of you who were in town then you will remember those major events which celebrated the centennial of our town.  There was no task too daunting for Phyllis.

Phyllis was also an avid supporter of Flat Rock Brook Nature Center.  She served on their board for three decades.  True to her nature, she served as President, Vice-President and Secretary throughout her tenure on the board.  Additionally, she was Acting Executive Director for a period when it was needed.  She provided leadership for their Capital Campaign which raised over $400,000 for their Endowment Fund.

But more than titles, she was sympathetic to the needy and fought for their rights of access to information. She was an avid reader with a voracious appetite for knowledge.  She was friend, neighbor, mentor, guide and support to all who needed it. She was all the best of humanity.  She will be greatly missed by us all.

We would also like to extend our sympathy to Phyllis’s son Bruce and her brother Bernard.  Phyllis’ beloved husband Norman predeceased her and she often said they were childhood sweethearts who grew up together.

There will be a Memorial Service for Phyllis at Flat Rock Brook on June 23, 2018 at 3 pm. We at the library will celebrate Phyllis at the Leonia Public Library on Sunday, June 24, at 2 pm.  Please join us to pay tribute to this very special woman.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Join your neighbors! Vote YES on November 7.

The New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act authorizes issuance of $125,000,000 in general obligation bonds to finance capital projects at public libraries; it appropriates $5,000. Under the bill, for any approved project financed by bond proceeds, the grant award will support 50% of the cost of the project, and the appropriate local governing entity in the area served by the public library will support 50% of the cost of the project. The bill has bipartisan support in both the State Assembly and the State Senate.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Vote FOR the Library Construction Bond on Nov. 7!

ON QUESTION 1, on Nov. 7?


Question ​1 ​on ​the ​November ​7 ​general ​election ​ballot ​will ​let ​voters ​decide ​on ​the ​NJ ​Library Construction ​Bond ​Act, ​which ​would ​provide ​matching ​grants ​for ​renovation ​and ​construction projects ​for ​public ​libraries.

How ​might ​this ​bond ​referendum ​benefit ​our ​community?

  • By ​helping ​libraries ​meet high-priority ​needs ​relating ​to accessibility, ​infrastructure, and innovation
  • By ​creating opportunities to ​invest ​in ​the ​NJ ​workforce ​and ​local ​businesses ​through jobs, ​construction, ​and ​substantial ​economic ​development.
  • By ​providing ​communities ​across ​the ​state ​with ​enhanced, ​state-of-the-art ​public libraries

How can library supporters help?

  • Tell ​friends ​and ​neighbors ​about ​the ​referendum
  • Promote ​the ​benefits ​of ​public ​libraries in ​communities
  • Share ​information ​on ​social ​media
  • Write ​letters ​to ​local ​papers ​about it

Click here to learn more about the NJ Construction Bond.
Check out the NJ Libraries Build Communities Facebook page!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Library Construction Bond on the ballot - Nov. 7

The next General Election is on November 7, 2017.

Voters will be asked to vote on two ballot questions, including a Library Construction Bond.
The state League of Women Voters has provided this useful summary of the question with reasons to support or oppose it.


October 31, 2017 is the "Vote by Mail—Deadline" to send in the Vote by Mail application to vote in the November General Election. This is a great option for college students, travelers and others who may want an alternative to voting in person. Once you apply for a vote-by-mail ballot, you will not be permitted to vote at the polls. Download the form here.

For additional information about this Library Construction Bond, the NJLA has setup a website with of information regarding the bill itself and legislators who support the bill - including:
Senator Loretta Weinberg
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle
Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson 
see NJ Libraries Build Communities

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Leonia Library Short Survey: Win a Kindle

The Leonia Public Library needs YOUR feedback!

As a special bonus: anyone who fills out the survey can choose to enter into a raffle to win a new Kindle Fire! 

It should take no more than 5 minutes to help us learn more about what the local library can do for you.

To be entered in the raffle just add your email or phone number at the end of the survey. The winner will be contacted in 30-60 days from the close of the survey. One survey/entrance per person ONLY.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Senate Bill S2171 - The Library Construction Bond Act

All supporters of Leonia should email Senator Loretta Weinberg at, attn: Shane Mitchell or call 201-928-0100, to ask that she support Senate Bill S2171 - The Library Construction Bond Act.

This can potentially save taxpayers money while supporting the ideals of a free society that our founding fathers envisioned. Contribute your voice to empower your elected officials to support it.The NJ Library Construction Bond Act is under review by members of the NJ Legislature (Assembly and Senate). The Leonia Public library and thus Leonia residents and taxpayers will benefit from it, along with many libraries in the state, who are in need of large repairs, upgrades and other capital projects as they try to offer the best and latest services to their communities. The bill will be discussed in the State Senate Committee on Monday, June 19 and has to be passed by the Legislature BEFORE JUNE 30th. 

NJLA (The New Jersey Library Association) has an informative website about the legislation. Please visit

Currently, both our Assembly representatives - Gordon M. Johnson and Valerie Vainieri Huttle - support the bill (A222). Library Director Matt Latham met with them about this and other library related bills last month in their Englewood office. Ask our state senator, Loretta Weinberg, to sign on to support the Senate version of it (S2171) as well. 

The bill will allow NJ voters to vote, for or against, a statewide construction bond authorizing $125 million of general obligation bonds to finance library capital and construction projects. These projects will require a 1:1 match from the local municipality.
As you are likely aware, the Leonia Public Library has had problems with its roof and leaks for years. Along with its HVAC system, some room renovations, and several other big projects this bond will be a huge help for the library, as well as other NJ Libraries, because it will allow it to correct these problems.

Monday, April 24, 2017

10 Reasons Librarians Are More Important Than Ever

  1. Librarians know tech.
  2. Librarians keep us honest.
  3. Librarians create "maker" hubs.
  4. Librarians take risks
... and more!

See the full article written to celebrate National Library Week.

"It's National Library Week, and we couldn't resist paying homage to one of the most important members of the school community: librarians. Also known as library media specialists, librarians play a unique role in our schools. Often asked to take on a wide range of duties, these passionate and savvy educators deserve more than only a week of praise. And in case you need a reminder of all that librarians do for our students and our schools, we've put together a list -- but it's only a start."

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Leonia Library budget update

BUDGET Good news! 
The Leonia Council approved the 2017 Budget at their meeting on April 19.  We are grateful to the Mayor and Council for accepting the library’s budget and proposing no new cuts to it. Read At a Glance:  Leonia's 2017 Budget from We appreciate the creative and energetic management of the library budget, shown by Director Matt Latham and the library board, to limit loss of services and programs. We are heartened by the tangible support demonstrated by members of the community to join, and take action, in support of the library and for their generous financial donations.
PROGRAM Good news!  
With stable funding, the library is now offering many programs, for all ages. We encourage you to subscribe to its free, monthly, short newsletter to learn about their programs. To learn more, visit the library table on Leonia Day, Sunday, May 21
Demonstrating its ongoing support for the community, the Library will be providing meeting space for the Climate March Sign and Poster Workshop sponsored by the Leonia Action Alliance.  See their Facebook page.   This new activist group is working to influence national and local policies.  Learn more about this group.
If ​the proposed federal budget is approved, the Institute of Museum and Library Studies will be completed defunded---and our library will not be able to offer database access for scholarly research, business research, and language learning software. While the federal budget cut directly affects the NJ State Library, programs and services the state library provides to Leonia would be affected. Please TAKE ACTION to prevent this federal funding cut.
To have your friends and neighbors join Leonia Reads, please have them JOIN our email list. We promise to use the list only to inform you, and them, about what is going on with our valuable community resource.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Assemblyman Johnson and Assemblywoman Huttle meet with library Directors

Library Director Matthew Latham posted on the Leonia Library Facebook page:
"Big thanks to Assemblyman Johnson and Assemblywoman Huttle for meeting with the directors of the Leonia, Bogota and Teaneck libraries today, and for your continued support of libraries in the State of New Jersey! Gordon M. Johnson and Valerie Vainieri Huttle."

Friday, December 2, 2016

Stay informed! The Leonia Council is holding open budget hearings for various departments on Saturday, December 3 and 10.

Leonia Library: An Extraordinary Community Resource
The Leonia Library serves as an active educational resource to all people of the community. It provides free and equal access to information, services, and programs. Leonia is not unique in fulfilling this role. Indeed it is a fundamental mission of public libraries. Just last year:

* Approximately 1600 children attended programs (various storytimes, crafts, and special events)
* 276 tweens/teens and 800 adults attended programs many of which centered  on the library’s  creative and popular,  MakerSpace (
In addition to programs, the library answers patron questions (more than 11,000 last year) on topics such as: library holdings, reference, and computers/technology. Patrons used more than 8,000 computer sessions at the library.
Trained library staff plan and conduct these programs. Last year’s budget cuts reduced the quantity and quality of programs serving teens, children, families, and individuals as it eliminated a full-time library assistant and more than 60% of part-time worker hours.
About 4% of the library budget goes to BCCLS  (about $34,000). Formed in 1979, BCCLS pioneered in resource sharing: users borrow from 77 participating libraries in northern New Jersey. eBCCLS is BCCLS’ digital initiative through which patrons can download and/or stream thousands of ebooks, audiobooks, movies, TV shows, music, and magazines.
Last year’s budget cut was severe. Leonians responded to this one-time cut with direct donations to the Library.  In October, a special Jazz Concert was sponsored by Carol Franklin and the The Friends of the Library​. With your support, the Friends ​continue to raise funds for the library.
A grant from the Community Chest of Leonia enabled the Library to ​purchase  This database is an online resource offering  thousands of classes, courses and webinars​, all​ FREE to Leonia ​Library card holders.
Libraries provide an essential public good. We look forward to seeing the Council restore funding to our Library.
Stay informed! The Council is holding open budget hearings for various departments on Saturday, December 3 and 10.  The Library will speak at the meeting on Dec. 10.

** View these budget hearings online. All meetings of the Mayor and Council are videotaped. You can watch the meeting in progress, or review the video later. Click on the meeting date at this calendar.

To have your friends and neighbors join Leonia Reads, please have them visit our email list. We promise to use the list only to inform you, and them, about what is going on with our valuable community resource.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Fantastic Jazz concert!

Sunday's Jazz concert at the American Legion Hall was marvelous. Many thanks to Carol Franklin and the Friends of the Leonia Library who sponsored this event.

The highlight was 101-year-old Fred Staton on saxophone (left).

This great afternoon of music raised funds for the Leonia Public Library.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Leonia Library Fundraiser on October 16th

Featuring the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band
Sunday, October 16th at the American Legion Hall

sponsored by Carol Franklin 
and the Friends of the Leonia Library

Come and enjoy great jazz as performed by the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band. Originally founded in 1973 by King Oliver's trombonist /blues singer Clyde Bernhardt and the jazz aficionado Al Volmer, the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band features performers who have played with some of the genres' best bands and musicians. The band has been touring and showcasing classic swing and jazz for 40 years.

All proceeds will go to support the Leonia Public Library. The event is being generously sponsored by Leonian Carol Franklin and the Friends of the Leonia Library.

The event will be held on Sunday, October 16th at the American Legion Hall in Leonia from 3 to 5 pm.  
RSVP at Eventbrite
Minimum donation is $20 AT THE DOOR via cash or check. Additional donations are greatly appreciated.  

You do not have the print your ticket from Eventbrite - this is being used as an RSVP only. All tickets are paid at the door the day of the show.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Letter from the Leonia Library Board of Trustees

To our Leonia Neighbors,

On behalf of the Library Board of Trustees, I wish to thank you for your support in our "I Love Leonia Library "campaign.  What a wonderful response!

Thanks to the generosity of our citizens, we have already raised $34,000 with an additional $5,000 grant from the Community Chest.  In addition, Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, in its list of donations from proceeds of the recent sale of their building, very generously included $22,967.38 for the Friends of the Leonia Library.  We do appreciate all this support!

Many of you have historically given to the library in the fall.  Please note that our campaign is ongoing through 2016 and it is not too late to contribute!  If you have not yet given this year, now is the time.  If you have contributed, thank you again!  If you would like to make an additional donation, you can do that as well and your total annual giving will be combined for our commemorative plaque.

If you are wondering how we have been using your donations, here are the major expenditures to date:
  • Purchase of additional books, DVDs, CDs, and audiobooks
  • Restoration of much of the fall programming
  • Continuation of some MakerSpace activities
As you may know, donated funds could not be used for salaries (by far the largest line item in the budget), which limitation has affected the library's opening hours.  We hope next year will be better.

It has been a difficult and challenging year.  Please know that the board will continue to work to keep Leonia Library at the level you expect. We would also like to recognize and thank our Library Director, Matt Latham, and the staff for their dedication to serving you, our public, as best they could.

Finally, we cannot thank you enough, not only for your financial support, but also for your involvement in letting the Mayor and Council know how important the library is to you.

Here is a quote from one of the many notes we received with your donations:
"My wife and I have always considered the library and the services it provides along with its dedicated employees to be one of the great benefits of living in Leonia."

We are lucky indeed to live in this community with good people like you all.

Warm regards and thanks again,
Betty Carillo
President, Leonia Library Board of Trustees

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Understanding the Library’s 2017 Budget

Thank you to all of you who answered the library’s supplemental request for donations. You should be proud to know that Leonians generously contributed nearly $35,000 in response to the campaign. This will certainly help close part of the budget gap this year, but we need to work towards restoration of the library funds that should be part of the municipal budget.

In October, all municipal departments, including the Leonia Library Board, will submit their annual budget requests to the Council to cover the cost of operating the Library from January through December 2017. They will do this along with other municipal departments. Each year, the Borough allocates an amount to the Library Board for salaries, materials and operating expenses. By law, the Library Board determines how to spend these funds -- both those allocated to it by the Mayor & Council and those it obtains supplementally.

The Library budget was cut in 2008 (3 people lost their jobs) and has not returned to 2008 levels. In 2008, the Library budget was $840,464. In 2015, it was $817,982. This year, it is $714,647. In order to meet ​this year’s $103,000 loss of tax dollars, the library reduced its hours and cut its staff. In July, it eliminated a full-time library assistant, a part-time archivist, and more than 60% of part-time worker hours.

The Mayor and Council typically do not officially adopt the 2017 budget until spring, after the start of the fiscal year, so it is critical that a preliminary understanding be reached as early as possible. During the time between the start of the process next month, and the final vote in the spring, the library board will meet with its Council liaison and the Finance Committee to come up with a workable budget. During this period, supporters of Leonia Reads should stay alert to the need to be vocal in their support to the Mayor and Council.

LeoniaReads would like to learn more about the budget process. We would also like to hear the views of candidates Bill Ziegler and Bernadette Flaim who are running for Town Council in the election on Nov 8. We are exploring the best way to accomplish these goals and will let you know our plans. If you have any suggestions for ways to help the library during these budget discussions, or wish to get more involved in ensuring a restoration of funds to the library, contact us.

Please communicate this information to your friends and neighbors who are not on our list and encourage them to join us.  You can share this message by using the icons below.

Leonia Reads

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Keep the Momentum Going!

Welcome Leonia Library Supporters! Yes, we’ve been on a break, hopefully like many of you. And now it’s time to bring you up to date on library news.

We were happy to see many of you at Leonia Day, a real celebration of our community here in town. In June, the “Friends of the Leonia Library” held its annual book sale. It was a great success, thanks to the dedicated work of the volunteers, the donations of books and, of course, the SUPPORTERS / CUSTOMERS! Thanks to everyone who participated.

And now: of course, you know -- the Mayor and Council cut the library's budget by $103,000. It is a very deep slash: one full-time library assistant position was cut along with a part-time archivist and more than 60% of part-time worker hours were eliminated. Loss of staff and need to cut expenditures has resulted in the reduction of evening and weekend hours. The library sent out an appeal letter which can be viewed on our blog,, with a request for the town to match any funds raised.

The danger of further cuts may occur again -- in next year's budget. The library is not out of the woods! Leonia Reads needs to grow and we need your help. Please ask your friends and neighbors to join the Leonia Reads email list. We promise not to use the list for anything but to inform you, and them, about what is going on with our valuable community resource.

Feel free to contact us at and please let us know if you'd like to become more involved.

Leonia Reads

Supporting the Leonia Library

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Library Board sends appeal for donations

Dear Fellow Leonian,

We need your help. Now more than ever.

As I am sure you know, we are facing a significant reduction in our budget. The Mayor and Council are proposing a $103,000 cut from last year’s appropriation which, given the mandated increases (healthcare, BCCLS fee, etc.), is in reality an approximately $125,000 cut.

This means cutting staff, and therefore services, as well as purchases of books, CDs and DVDs.

The Board of Trustees has heard our fellow citizens speak in glowing terms about our library. You have praised our new director and the programs he has brought to the library. You refer to the library as being the heart and soul of the community. We are uplifted by your words while also saddened by the cuts. We want to find a way to lessen the impact on the services you have come to expect. For that we need your personal generosity.

Will YOU help us?

We are challenging you to dig deep and give. We are looking for the following:
10 donors of $1000 or more 10 donors of $750 - 999 15 donors of $500 - 749
50 donors of $250 - 499 100 donors of $100 – 249 250 donors under 100

This is the I Love Leonia Library campaign. We know that we cannot expect this level of giving every year but we are looking for something extra this year.

100% of the money raised in this campaign will fund items that otherwise would be cut. Our goal is to raise $100,000 and ask the Mayor and Council to find $.25 for every $1.00 contributed ($25,000 on our target). The Library Board controls funds from donations, fines, etc. We will contribute money from that fund (previously earmarked for technology upgrades) to supplement what we need up to $40,000. This would be a true public-private partnership with the borough, its citizens and the Library Board. Together we can keep your library functioning at the level you want.

We have made every effort to reduce costs and will continue discussions with the Mayor and the Borough Council to try to reinstate whatever we can in next year’s budget. We are optimistic in the Mayor’s efforts to increase borough revenue.

But we need you now. In honor of these special gifts, any donations of $100 or over will be placed on a commemorative plaque in the library. All donations will be recognized, as every dollar is important.

We thank you.


Elizabeth A. Carillo
President, Board of Trustees

P.S. Please make your check payable to Leonia Public Library and mail it in the enclosed envelope. Or click here to Donate Online.  Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Elizabeth Carillo, President; Arnold Trachtenberg, Treasurer; Phyllis Dain, Secretary; John Kendrick, Susan Boyd, Brad Wilds, Mary Heveran; Judah Zeigler, Mayor; H. Philip Zeigler, Mayor’s Alternate; Joanne Megargee, Superintendent of Schools; Julie Diemer, Superintendent’s Alternate; Bernadette Flaim, Council Liaison
Matthew Latham, Library Director