The Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) has been a cornerstone of the Somerset County community for over 80 years.

As the years have passed new branches have joined the System, new technologies have been introduced while others disappeared, and bookshelves have continually filled and emptied again by book lovers of all ages. 

One of our most vital resources, the individuals who make up our staff and add personality to our branches, has also changed throughout the years. 

“As with any large organization, ours is working through changes wrought by technologies, pandemics, customer expectations, and retirements, just to name a few,” said Brian Auger, county library administrator. “We’re always trying to best match the strengths and skills of our managers to the needs at hand, both local and system-level, so we can provide the best, most cost-efficient, customer service. This latest set of promotions brings us closer to our goals.”

In early March, four branches acquired new managers – all having been promoted internally following years of experience and excellence.

“It always speaks well of an organization to be able to promote existing staff into key managerial vacancies,” said Christopher Korenowsky, director of public services. “I am so pleased that has happened at SCLSNJ with the latest round of branch manager positions. As the library system continues to grow and offer more services to the public, it became important for each branch to have a dedicated, full time branch manager in each building. Our new team of managers will continue to support the library’s core services and strategic priorities, as well as expand our community engagement efforts with local municipalities and stakeholders.”

Take a few moments to virtually meet our four newest managers, or, if in the area, stop by to say hello.

Elizabete Pata

Elizabete Pata is the manager at the Mary Jacobs branch, located at 64 Washington Street in Rocky Hill. Pata will also be managing the new Montgomery branch. Eighteen years ago, Pata began her library career and has since worked in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York in both municipal and system libraries. Before starting at SCLSNJ about seven years ago, Pata served as manager and opened the 88th branch of the NYPL, Mariners Harbor, in Staten Island. At SCLSNJ, Pata has had the pleasure of working as an adult services supervisor at both the North Plainfield and Hillsborough branches.

CURRENTLY READING: “Anthem” by Noah Hawley
HOBBIES: Gardening (635), soccer (796.334), and binging TV/movies (791.45).
FAVE PLACE TO READ: By a cozy fireplace.

Lynn Mazur

Lynn Mazur is the manager at the Warren Township branch, located at 42 Mountain Boulevard in Warren Twp. Mazur graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies from Rutgers University in 2006, and worked in the book publishing industry before pursuing a master’s degree in library and information science. In 2010, she graduated with her MLIS from Rutgers University, and joined SCLSNJ as a young adult librarian at the Bridgewater branch. In her most recent role at SCLSNJ, she was the youth services department supervisor for the Warren Township and Watchung branches. 

CURRENTLY READING: “You’ll Be the Death of Me” by Karen M. McManus
HOBBIES: Spending time with family and friends (302, 306.85, 177.62), my dogs (636.7), going to the movies (791.43), binge watching TV series (791.45), and hiking (796.51).
FAVE PLACE TO READ: My car – I love listening to audiobooks on my commute! Libby is, by far, my most used app every week, and SCLSNJ has an amazing e-Book collection (which includes audiobooks).

Melissa John

Melissa John is the manager at the Peapack and Gladstone branch, located at the Municipal Complex on School Street in Peapack. John earned her master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Rutgers University. John’s bachelor’s degree was a double-major in Journalism and Media Studies, and History. John’s experience is varied and includes university libraries, as well as county college libraries, public libraries, and special collections and archives. Within public libraries, John has worked in adult services and teen services, in addition to supervising circulation services.

CURRENTLY READING: “Just As I Am: A Memoir” by Cicely Tyson
HOBBIES: Nature walks (917.4), creative writing (808), and veganism (641.5636).
FAVE PLACE TO READ: John loves to listen to audiobooks in her car while driving back and forth to work. When at home, her four-year-old daughter and nine-year-old son keep her pretty busy!

Meredith Hoyer

Meredith Hoyer is the manager at the Bridgewater branch, located at 1 Vogt Drive in Bridgewater. Hoyer has over twenty years of diverse library experience, providing service to children, young adults, and adults at the North Plainfield, Mary Jacobs, and Bridgewater branches. As a teen and children’s librarian, Hoyer created and implemented innovative collections and programming that reflect the cultural and developmental diversity of the branch service areas. As an adult librarian, Hoyer cultivated a warm, friendly, and compassionate atmosphere for older adults who found themselves on the opposite end of a digital divide. In both roles, Hoyer has worked on major facility projects, collaborated with community stakeholders, and was an active leader on SCLSNJ system initiatives. Hoyer grew up in Bridgewater and started as a page at the Bridgewater branch during high school. The Bridgewater branch was Hoyer’s childhood library. She got her MLIS in 2002 from Rutgers University.

CURRENTLY READING: “Fan Fiction: A Mem-noir Inspired By True Events” by Brent Spiner
HOBBIES: Vegetable gardening (635).
FAVE PLACE TO READ: Curled up with her dogs.

While we have your attention, meet our six seated managers – individuals that have already left a mark on their communities.

Cathy DeBerry

Cathy DeBerry is the manager at the Bound Brook branch, located at 402 East High Street in Bound Brook. DeBerry has worked at SCLSNJ for 13 years. In 2008, DeBerry started as a part time adult services librarian at the Warren branch, was an adult services supervisor at the Hillsborough branch, and became a branch manager in Bound Brook in 2020. DeBerry has been a librarian for nearly 30 years but took a break from the mid 90s to the mid 2000s to raise her three children. DeBerry was awarded a Masters in Library Science from Rutgers University at a time when there was no such thing as the internet or computers in the Public Library. Much has changed since 1991, and DeBerry loves all of the challenges, innovation, and change that present by working in a 21st century library like SCLSNJ. 

CURRENTLY READING: [When not reading to her grandson] “Apples Never Fall” by Liane Moriarty
HOBBIES: Quilting (746.46), traveling (914-917), and gardening (635).
FAVE PLACE TO READ: In the window seat in her dining room, in front of the fireplace. It is full of comfy pillows and quilts she’s made with a beautiful view of mature trees.

Christal Blue

Christal Blue is the manager at the North Plainfield branch, located at 6 Rockview Avenue in North Plainfield. Blue has worked at SCLSNJ as branch manager at the North Plainfield branch for the past 6 years, specializing in all aspects of public library service. Prior to joining SCLSNJ, Blue was the children’s services supervisor at the East Orange Public Library. Blue received her MLIS degree from Rutgers University, New Brunswick.

CURRENTLY READING: “Black Food: Stories, Art & Recipes From Across the African Diaspora” edited and curated by Bryant Terry
HOBBIES: Art Museums (708), Live Theater (792), and African American Cooking (641.59296).

Hannah Kerwin

Hannah Kerwin is the manager at the Watchung branch, located at 12 Stirling Road in Watchung. A Central Jersey native, Kerwin studied fine arts at the College of Wooster, library science at Case Western Reserve University, and video production and photography at New York University. Her public library career began in the film and music department of New York Public Library in 1986. At SCLSNJ, she served as director of the Bound Brook branch for 15 years and has been manager of the Watchung branch for seven years. She is active in two local history associations and is on the executive board of the League of Historic Societies of New Jersey. With an SCLSNJ colleague, she wrote and photographed a monumental study of a  Revolutionary Era graveyard in Bound Brook. 

CURRENTLY READING: “Historic Tales of Watchung” by Robert A. Mayers
HOBBIES: Choral music (782.5) and classic American cinema (791.43).
FAVE PLACE TO READ: In the kitchen while eating. (Not really a favorite, but that’s where she does the most reading.)

Karen Pifher

Karen Pifher is the manager at the Hillsborough branch, located at 379 South Branch Road in Hillsborough. Since completing her MLS in 1998, Pifher has worked in various positions with diverse responsibilities in public and academic libraries in both New Jersey and Virginia. Pifher joined SCLSNJ in 2007 and has continued to enjoy varied responsibilities and work locations. Pifher’s current responsibilities as branch manager of the Hillsborough branch enables her to interact on a regular basis with the amazing members of the Hillsborough community; continue to build exciting Township partnerships with the support, encouragement, and contributions of Township officials and staff; as well as being a contributing member of the Hillsborough team – a win, win, win.

CURRENTLY READING: “Compost Teas for the Organic Grower” by Eric Fisher
HOBBIES: Organic gardening (635).
FAVE PLACE TO READ: Any place that provides a few quiet moments to become immersed in a book.

Nanette Peterson

Nanette Peterson is the manager at the Manville branch, located at 100 South 10th Avenue in Manville. Peterson just celebrated 20 years with SCLSNJ. Libraries are her second career.  Peterson worked in the corporate world before getting her MLS from Rutgers University. She worked in both public and academic libraries, and in the three different branches at SCLSNJ, before coming to Manville. 

CURRENTLY READING: “The Huntress” by Kate Quinn
HOBBIES: Growing things, especially in terrariums (635.9824) and organizing things (648).
FAVE PLACE TO READ: Peterson doesn’t have a favorite place to read but she DOES have a favorite place to find things to read and that’s Oblong Books, an independent bookseller. They have two locations – Rhinebeck, NY (she has to be dragged out of there!) and Millerton, NY, where Harney’s unique tea store is right across the street.

Rebecca Crawford

Rebecca Crawford is the manager at the Somerville branch, located at 35 West End Avenue in Somerville. Crawford received her MLS from the University of Pittsburgh and over her library career has held various positions, including: a teen librarian shared between two libraries; a children’s librarian; a school media specialist at an elementary pre-K through 8, two middle, and one high schools; a youth services supervisor; a youth services system coordinator; and a branch manager. Crawford’s 10 years at SCLSNJ have been spent at the Bridgewater branch, the Mary Jacobs branch, and the Somerville branch. Her first librarian position in New Jersey was the children’s librarian at the Somerville branch and now Crawford has come full circle as the branch manager.

CURRENTLY READING: “Come Tumbling Down” (Wayward Children, Book 5) by Seanan McGuire
HOBBIES: Board games (794), cribbage (795.41), and hearts (795.4)
FAVE PLACE TO READ: Crawford’s favorite place to read is at the beach, relaxing under a beach umbrella. Of course, when she’s not at the beach, Crawford enjoys reading on her deck or, on cold days, wrapped up in a blanket sitting in her favorite chair.

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