New LBI Library Branch Manager a Familiar Face

Jan 24, 2018
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

When Toni Smirniw recently assumed her duties as manager of the Long Beach Island Branch of the Ocean County Library, she did not need much of an orientation session.

After all, she had worked at the branch as supervisor of circulation from 1999 to 2009, leaving to take the job as manager of the Tuckerton branch. She had held that position until she was hired to replace the retired Linda Feaster at the LBI library branch, located on Central Avenue in Surf City.

“Tuckerton is classified as a small branch, while LBI is medium,” said Smirniw. “Tuckerton has around 17,000 materials while here at the Island it is around 30,000.”

Smirniw is supervising a staff of 14 full- and part-time employees, with a few additions coming for the summer.

“All the branches in Southern Ocean County have more activity during the summer since you have people coming home after spending the off-season in Florida and many others coming here for vacation,” she said. “But the Island, the switch gets flipped and suddenly it gets very busy, more so than the ones on the mainland.”   

For example, last July brought nearly 10,000 visitors to the branch, while 10,650 stopped by in August. In contrast, about 4,900 people visited the branch in October.

Smirniw will also be active in planning programs.

“We have a very active Friends group who sponsor numerous programs and activities,” she said. “I'm also hoping to get out in the community. We need to have a community presence, like maybe having a table during Chowderfest or other special events.”

Career-wise, Smirniw started out in the food service field, and in the early 1990s was working with various casinos in Atlantic City.

“I felt at the time I needed an extra job so I got a part-time position with the Atlantic City library system,” she said.

The job later became full time and she stayed there for five years before joining the Ocean County Library System with the Little Egg Harbor branch in 1997.

Smirniw holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and also has master’s degrees in library science and nonprofit management and leadership.

“I always liked reading, so working in libraries was a good fit,” she said. “Of course, libraries offer so much more today with the advances in technology, so hopefully we’ll stay as up-to-date as possible in serving the LBI community.”

— Eric Englund


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