Rotary Club Hears About Plans for Westfield Memorial Library

(above, l-r) Westfield Memorial Library Director Allen McGinley, Rotary Club President Barbara Frantz, Esq.
Courtesy photo

Rotary Hears About Plans for Westfield Library

Submitted by Dr. D. Michael Hart

Library Director Allen McGinley spoke to the Rotary Club about the future plans of the Westfield Memorial Library during a club meeting held on January 16, 2024. Mr. McGinley commented that use of the library has significantly increased over the past year, with more books being borrowed, more electronic books downloaded, increase of the WIFI use at the library, and increased use of the reference library resources.

The library recently joined a consortium of 40 libraries to increase the ability to share books and materials. This also allows Westfield residents to go directly to other libraries such as the Cranford or Scotch Plains/Fanwood libraries and peruse their collections. Middlesex County College is part of the consortium. Mr. McGinley commented that sharing services is beneficial to Westfield residents and is the latest trend in local Governments.

The library upgraded its bandwidth to 1 Gig for better technology use. Many students and researchers bring their own laptops to the library.

During the pandemic, it was noted that people liked using outdoor spaces, so the library created a small patio outside for patrons’ use. The patio includes WIFI and electrical outlets for charging devices.

The library has created a seed library, which will be of special interest to gardeners.

An important facility upgrade will be to convert the scanning of library books at checkout to Radio Frequency ID. This will increase ease and speed of checking out. Also, there will be an outdoor 24 hour pickup locker planned for times the library is not open. The Library is currently open Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Mr. McGinley is looking into additional locations for pickup lockers, such as the train station or the police station, to make it easier to access library materials.

The library received a grant of $200,000 from the Women’s Club of Westfield to purchase an electric vehicle to serve as a book mobile in order to bring materials to schools. It can also be used to provide power or WIFI remotely in emergencies.

The study carols are usually full with high school students and researchers, so they plan to increase their number.

The Local History Room is being converted into a conference room which would be available for rent to local organizations. The demand for the main conference room is at maximum, so a second room would be put to good use.

The summer reading program is very popular with children and parents.

The Rotary Club has supported the Westfield Library with grants over the years. The Rotary Club is holding their annual fundraiser for scholarships and grants called Breakfast with the Bands. Tickets are $10 at the door. The event will be on Saturday, March 2nd from 9 a.m. to noon, at the Westfield High School cafeteria.

The Rotary Club of Westfield Foundation gave $117,000 in college scholarships and $29,978 in community grants, last year, in 2023. Recently, the Women’s Club of Westfield closed, but turned their assets over to the Rotary Club Foundation to continue their legacy, which will add another $30,000 in annual scholarships for women students, and $9,500 in community grants. Since 1967, Westfield Rotary has awarded $3.5 million of scholarships to 1800 students, and approximately $875,000 in community grants. Scholarship applications for Westfield students are accepted through the Westfield High School guidance department.

The Rotary Club of Westfield meets the first three Tuesdays of each month for lunch at noon, at Limani Seafood Grill on North Ave. Guests are always welcome. For information check out the website  or contact club secretary Dr. D. Michael Hart by email at

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