Proudly serving the largest county in New Jersey, BCLS is a vibrant network of libraries sharing a vast array of resources. Our locations are conveniently located throughout Burlington County and each one is special in its own way. Take a few moments to learn more about each of our libraries, what makes it unique and all it has to offer.
“Our main library is that special hub where resources, services and operations are centralized and coordinated, which helps create an integrated system of libraries. Due to its large size, it’s also the location with the most to offer.”
Ranjna Das, Burlington County Library System Director
Offering a wealth of on-site services and amenities to a steady flow of customers, as well as far-reaching support to all BCLS branches, the sprawling Burlington County Library serves as the heart of the library system. In fact, the 64,000-sqaure-foot building is often referred to as the main branch – and it certainly lives up to its reputation. As the largest BCLS library, it simply has more to offer!
Conveniently located in Westampton, Burlington County Library first opened its doors to the public in 1971. It was half-a-century after the library was founded and the brand-new, then 33,000-square-foot building was cause for celebration. Designed specifically for its five-acre site, it would become the library’s permanent home, undergoing several renovations and expansions over the years, most recently in 2013 when an ambitious construction project gave it a sleek new look and updated features. Today, the library has much to offer, including a welcoming lobby, active Children’s Department, dedicated Teen Zone, 250-seat auditorium, meeting rooms, study space and more. Library Director Ranjna Das notes this busy location also has the unique distinction of housing a critical array of BCLS administrative offices that support the entire system. In short, as the BCLS flagship facility, it’s the bustling library hub, serving as the central link to all library locations and attracting visitors of all ages and walks of life from all corners of the county.
Take a few moments to explore Burlington County Library and you’ll find a generous mix of furnishings available throughout the building, including casual lounge seating, as well as an abundance of work tables and private study carrels for those ready to settle in and focus. Vending machines can be found in the café area, where small tables beside floor-to-ceiling windows offer a relaxing spot for snacking, meeting with friends or enjoying a friendly game of chess.
Adults won’t be disappointed by the vast selection of books lining the shelves, and, according to Circulation Manger Lisa Downs, popular choices at the checkout desk include the newest books and DVDs available, as well children’s books, nonfiction titles, and whatever is trending on BookTok. Want to brush up on your computer skills? Classes are held each month in the library’s roomy tech center located just behind the reference desk. Interested in learning more about the Garden State or tracing your roots? Burlington County Library also houses the New Jersey Room, a space dedicated to family and local history research featuring an extensive microfilm collection, newspaper index, books and maps. And the library’s events list is updated regularly to appeal to a wide variety of interests with listings for the popular Page Turners Book Club, health and wellness workshops, live performances, movies, and more.
Teens will also find their own space to gather and study in the library – a private room with glass walls featuring small work tables, counter seating and access to public computers. Just across the hall, the brightly-colored Children’s Department is spacious enough to host an array of kid-friendly events, including live performances that typically draw enthusiastic crowds. Families with little ones also drop in regularly to build with LEGOS, read to a furry friend, or gather together in the storytelling room that features a high ceiling, tiered seating and window views. Children also have easy access to their own bank of PCs, including several AWE Early Literacy Computers.
While visitors will find much to explore at the library, there’s also a large section of the building that remains off-limits to the public, but hums with activity behind the scenes. In fact, about one-third of the library’s square footage is dedicated to administrative offices and other support services that keep BCLS running smoothly all year round. Staff who work in this area include employees in the business office and tech support, as well as the dedicated personnel who manage the BCLS online catalog and ensure that up-to-date library resources are available on the shelves. According to Chief Librarian Rachael LaVoie-Dohn, librarian “selectors,” relying on professional reviews and reader assistants, recommend the steady stream of new materials, both physical and digital, that are acquired throughout the year, and up to 20 boxes of new books arrive at the library for processing each weekday. With bestsellers and books-on-hold given first priority, they are then labeled and added to the online catalog before being placed on the library shelves or packed up and delivered to the other branches located throughout the county.
Additional library staff who work behind the scenes include the employees who run the Interlibrary Loan, Library by Mail and Borrow a Book Club programs, as well as the BCLS Marketing Department, which is responsible for promoting library programs, services and events for the entire system. The fabulous volunteer Friends of the Library also maintain a private space in the building to prepare for book sales and other fundraising efforts that support library programs and initiatives all year long.
If you haven’t visited Burlington County Library lately, why not plan a visit soon? We can’t wait to see you!