The year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Burlington County Library System will culminate in October with a collection of activities, programs and events designed to mark the important milestone.
The festivities will kick off on Oct. 2 with a special celebration at the Main Library in Westampton, where visitors will be able to explore the library’s spectacular 100-year history — from its origin as New Jersey’s first county library through its growth and expansion into the modern system residents rely upon today – with a History Walk display of archived photos, documents, artifacts and more.
After touring the library’s history, guests will take a step back in time to the 1920s with a special performance by Svetlana and the Delancey Five, a New York City-based swing band renowned for their mix of jazz, pop and dance and their Flash Mob performances in Times Square and New York subways.
Registration is required for this exciting event, which is hosted by the Burlington County Library Commission and the Burlington County Library System Foundation with sponsorship in part by First Harvest, PSE&G and TD Bank. There’s still a few dozen spaces left so register today!
To register online, go to https://bcls-nj.libcal.com/event/8302623 .
“One hundred years is a huge milestone and we’re thrilled to have Svetlana and the Delancey Five here to help us kick off a systemwide celebration that will feature a variety of special anniversary programs and events at the Main Library and branches,” said Burlington County Library System Director Ranjna Das. “The Burlington County Library System was founded to serve as a repository of knowledge for our communities and we want our entire county to be able to come together and celebrate this special anniversary.”
“Not many things last 100 years so the Foundation wanted to do something special to mark the occasion,” said Burlington County Library System Foundation President Patricia Lindsay-Harvey. “We are delighted to bring Svetlana and the Delancey Five to the library to help us celebrate this milestone and swing in the start of the library’s next century.”
The library and History Walk display will open at 1 p.m. for the special event and the program and concert will begin at 1:45 p.m. in the library auditorium. During the event all library services will be closed.
The other special events and programs celebrating BCLS’s centennial will take place virtually and at both the Main Library and individual branches. Each will have themes linked to the library anniversary or the era.
“The library system was created to be a resource for our communities so we created a month of events and activities so residents can take part in the celebration,” said Jonathan Chebra, Burlington County Library Commission chair. “Visitors will learn about the library’s history and longevity but also how it continues to evolve to serve them and improve their lives.”
The events include a special book club discussion of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and other Jazz Age Stories” and a virtual lecture about Louis Armstrong, led by Ricky Riccardi, Director of Research Collections for the Louis Armstrong House Museum and author of two books about the jazz legend.
Branch events and activities range from an Oct. 14 lecture about the U.S. Army Signal Corps telephone switchboard operators, also known as the “Hello Girls” and their importance to battlefield communications during World War I and their fight for veterans’ status in 1921 to an all-day 100 Book Storytime on Oct. 5 at the Pinelands Library in Medford, where 100 children’s books will be read in celebration of the BCLS’s 100 years.
Another highlight is at the Pemberton Branch, which plans to host a month-long “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” Scavenger Hunt, allowing children to help J.K. Rowling’s 1920s era hero Newt Scamander locate missing magical creatures throughout the library.
There will even be a 100th Anniversary concert in the Auditorium at the Main Library on Oct. 20 featuring Turtle Dance Music and their show “Reading Rocks! A Virtual Music, Bubble and Comedy Show” for all ages.
All 100th Anniversary events are listed on the BCLS website at https://www.bcls.lib.nj.us/celebrate-100-years
“Burlington County was the first county library system created in New Jersey and it continues to be one of the finest in the nation,” said Burlington County Commissioner Deputy Director Dan O’Connell, who is the County Commissioners’ liaison to the Burlington County Library System. “This systemwide celebration will be a fitting tribute to the library’s enduring longevity but also how it has continued to grow and evolve to meet residents’ needs. There’s something for everyone, so we want to encourage residents to join the party this month at either the Main Library or local branch events.”