New Librarian at the Tuckerton Library Has Dream Job

Jan 31, 2018
Photo by: Pat Johnson Dorothy Luyster is the new branch librarian at the Tuckerton Library. She made the snowman display from old CD packaging to bring attention to books with  winter themes.

New Tuckerton branch librarian Dorothy Luyster loves history, children’s books and the Tuckerton/Little Egg Harbor area where she makes her home. At her one-month anniversary at the branch, the 28-year-old brings an excitement and enthusiasm to the library that is hard to miss.

She has her bachelors of arts in historical studies from Stockton University and her master’s in library and information sciences from Drexel University in Philadelphia with a concentration in archival studies. “I’m a big history buff,” she said. Her biggest dream was to be a museum curator.

With her B.A. in hand, she started working for the Ocean County Library System six years ago as a library assistant, moving among branches whenever she was needed. “That was great because I learned about the different branches.” Then after obtaining her master’s she became the children’s librarian in the Toms River branch, a job she enjoyed for four years. Then she moved to the Stafford branch as the children’s librarian for six months until the position opened up in Tuckerton.

“The biggest reason why I’m glad I have this branch is because of its history – it’s the oldest library in the county. It combines everything I love to do in the same building.”

The library was incorporated in 1875, though it had started before that as an informal lending library in the Quaker meeting house. The library at 380 Bay Ave. incorporates the quaint library building that was moved from Marine Street in the 1970s.

“My dad used to take me here when I was a kid; it’s like coming home,” said Luyster. “My family moved here when I was 12 from Elizabeth, N.J. I love the area; my fiancé and I just bought a house on the border between Tuckerton and Little Egg.”

Luyster loves to craft and create displays that highlight the library collection. She has already made a snowman out of CD and DVD packages and a popcorn box brimming with crushed paper to promote the film nights on Mondays.

“I did win a couple of Best Display awards from the library. They get the customers’ attention. Wait until you see February. I’ll be tying together Black History Month, Valentine’s Day, and it’s also Love Your Library Month.”

While at the Toms River branch, she started a story time program for children on the autism spectrum, a subject that is “near and dear to her heart,” and she hopes to start that in the Tuckerton branch.

Luyster also aims to bring more crafting and arts programs for children, adults and teens.

With so much experience as a children’s librarian, it was hard for her to mention one or two favorite children’s’ books as she loves so many. But she did offer that her favorite books when she was a child were her mother’s original Nancy Drew books of the 1940s and ’50s. “I read the complete set,” she said, and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women is perhaps her favorite childhood novel. Her favorite author as an adult is British historic novel writer Phillippa Gregory, and she is a big fan of the TV series “Downton Abbey.” “I love reading books about that era and love nonfiction history about the 1920s.

“I want to continue to bring history programs here as well. Tuckerton is so rich in history. I’ve always loved history; when we moved here, first on my list of places to see was the museum (Giffordtown Schoolhouse Museum) and here, the library.” When at school at Stockton, she also interned at the Atlantic County Heritage Center in Somers Point and is trained in Past Perfect, an archival computer program.

“I’ve been told I’m an old soul, and I believe it.”

Luyster ’s love of history has informed her private life as well. For her coming marriage in May, she found and reserved the Moorestown Country House, a mansion house built in the 1920s. “Our save the date announcement was an old-fashioned library card with the date stamped, and for the seating arrangements, people have to look up their names in an old card catalog. The centerpieces will incorporate books.

“Our wedding date is May 19, the same date as Prince Harry’s, though we had announced ours before he announced his,” she joked.

Luyster will continue the outreach programs started by former librarian Toni Smirniv, who is now the branch manager at the Long Beach Island branch. So she is looking forward to meeting new friends in the area.

“The staff here is so nice and has been so welcoming and helpful that I feel right at home.”

— Pat Johnson


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