The year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Burlington County Library System will culminate in October with a collection of activities, programs and events designed to mark the important milestone.
The festivities will kick off on October 2 with a special celebration at the Main Library in Westampton, where visitors will be able to explore the library’s spectacular 100-year history -- from its origin as New Jersey’s first county library through its growth and expansion into the modern system residents rely upon today – with a History Walk display of archived photos, documents, artifacts and more.
After touring the library’s history, guests will take a step back in time to the 1920s with a special performance by Svetlana and the Delancey Five, a New York City-based swing band renown for their mix of jazz, pop and dance and their Flashmob performances in Times Square and New York subways.
Registration is required for this exciting event, which is hosted by the Burlington County Library Commission and the Burlington County Library System Foundation with sponsorship in part by First Harvest, PSE&G and TD Bank. There’s still a few dozen spaces left so register today!
To register online, go to https://bcls-nj.libcal.com/event/8302623 .
“One hundred years is a huge milestone and we’re thrilled to have Svetlana and the Delancey Five here to help us kick off a systemwide celebration that will feature a variety of special anniversary programs and events at the Main Library and branches,” said Burlington County Library System Director Ranjna Das. “The Burlington County Library System was founded to serve as a repository of knowledge for our communities and we want our entire county to be able to come together and celebrate this special anniversary.”
“Not many things last 100 years so the Foundation wanted to do something special to mark the occasion,” said Burlington County Library System Foundation President Patricia Lindsay-Harvey. “We are delighted to bring Svetlana and the Delancey Five to the library to help us celebrate this milestone and swing in the start of the library’s next century.”
The library and History Walk display will open at 1 PM for the special event and the program and concert will begin at 1:45 PM in the library auditorium. During the event all library services will be closed.
The other special events and programs celebrating BCLS’s centennial will take place virtually and at both the Main Library and individual branches. Each will have themes linked to the library anniversary or the era.
“The library system was created to be a resource for our communities so we created a month of events and activities so residents can take part in the celebration,” said Jonathan Chebra, Burlington County Library Commission chair. “Visitors will learn about the library’s history and longevity but also how it continues to evolve to serve them and improve their lives.”
The events include a special book club discussion of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and other Jazz Age Stories” and a virtual lecture about Louis Armstrong, led by Ricky Riccardi, Director of Research Collections for the Louis Armstrong House Museum and author of two books about the jazz legend.
Branch events and activities range from an Oct. 14 lecture about the U.S. Army Signal Corps telephone switchboard operators, also known as the “Hello Girls” and their importance to battlefield communications during World War I and their fight for veterans status in 1921 to an all-day 100 Book Storytime on Oct. 5 at the Pinelands Library in Medford, where 100 children’s books will be read in celebration of the BCLS’s 100 years.
Another highlight is at the Pemberton Branch, which plans to host a month-long “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” Scavenger Hunt, allowing children to help J.K. Rowling’s 1920s era hero Newt Scamander locate missing magical creatures throughout the library.
There will even be a 100th Anniversary concert in the Auditorium at the Main Library on Oct. 20 featuring Turtle Dance Music and their show “Reading Rocks! A Virtual Music, Bubble and Comedy Show” for all ages.
All 100th Anniversary events are listed on the BCLS website at https://www.bcls.lib.nj.us/celebrate-100-years
“Burlington County was the first county library system created in New Jersey and it continues to be one of the finest in the nation,” said Burlington County Commissioner Deputy Director Dan O’Connell, who is the County Commissioners’ liaison to the Burlington County Library System. “This systemwide celebration will be a fitting tribute to the library’s enduring longevity but also how it has continued to grow and evolve to meet residents’ needs. There’s something for everyone, so we want to encourage residents to join the party this month at either the Main Library or local branch events.”
Media are invited to cover the Oct. 2 anniversary celebration and Svetlana and the Delancey Five performance but are asked to RSVP with the Burlington County Public Information Office in advance by emailing email@example.com or calling 609-265-5020.
A preview of the History Walk and advance interviews with Burlington County Library officials will be made available to media on Oct. 1. Please contact the Public Information Office for details.
100th Anniversary Events
Virtual (Zoom) events
Not Your Mother's Book Club
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Wednesday, Oct. 6, 3 p.m.
To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of BCLS, let's enjoy a book you could check out in 1921! F. Scott Fitzgerald is considered one of the greatest American writers, and his short story collection, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Tales” features four of his best. The title story is a fantasy tale about a man who is in his seventies at birth and progressively ages backwards. The other stories included in this collection are "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz," "Tarquin of Cheapside" and "O Russet Witch!"
Louis Armstrong 101
Wednesday, Oct. 13, 6:30 p.m.
Many people know Louis Armstrong from hit records like "Hello, Dolly!" and "What a Wonderful World" or from appearances in films such as "High Society” – but did you know he was arguably the most influential musician of the 20th century? In a dazzling multimedia presentation, Armstrong author and historian Ricky Riccardi will demonstrate just how "Satchmo" revolutionized the sounds of jazz and popular music with his innovations. Riccardi is the Director of Research Collections for the Louis Armstrong House Museum and has penned two books about Armstrong. He has given lectures on Armstrong at venues around the world, including the Institute of Jazz Studies and Satcho Summerfest. He is also a jazz pianist based out of Tom’s River, NJ and received his Master’s in Jazz History and Research from Rutgers University.
Special Friday Film Club
Friday, Oct. 22, Noon
Join us to discuss the silent classic, The Affairs of Anatol. Cecil B. DeMille directed this risque all-star revue of decadence which must have been jaw-dropping in 1921 and which remains astonishing today, although for entirely different reasons. This film is available to stream on Kanopy.
Old Time Radio Hour: “The War of the Worlds”
Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2 p.m.
The aliens have landed in Grover’s Mill! Join us for an unabridged listen to the Orson Welles adaption of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. First broadcast on Oct. 30, 1938, this radio program enthralled listeners and caused a sensation. The program runs a little under an hour. Feel free to bring your latest work-in-progress if you knit, sketch, etc. Jigsaw puzzles and coloring sheets will also be available for listeners.
The Hello Girls
Thursday, Oct. 14, 7 p.m.
Learn how the U.S. Army Signal Corps employed women as telephone switchboard operators during WWI. The pioneering “Hello Girls” worked long hours to ensure battlefield communications, sometimes at great personal risk. (The head “Hello Girl,” Grace Baker, was from New Jersey!) In 1921, after the war, the “Hello Girls” fought for veteran status. This story will be the centerpiece of the lecture – join us to hear about the battle after the battles. Presented by Melissa Ziobro from Monmouth University.
Roaring Twenties Murder Mystery
Tuesday, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m.
Calling all teens! You’re invited to put on your sleuth cap and join us at the library for a murder mystery set in the roaring 1920s. Put together clues and figure “who done it!”
What Can I Change in 100 Years?
Wednesday, Oct. 20, 1:30 p.m.
This storytime includes books that showcase the differences between 1921 and 2021. A special display of antiques – including a typewriter, record player and drawers from a card catalog – will be on display too. There will also be a presentation of things that grow and change over a century, such as trees and turtles. All children are welcome, but this event is geared towards ages 11 and under.
Diamond Origami Class
Tuesday, Oct. 12, 7 p.m.
Each anniversary is associated with a special gem. 100 years is a diamond. To celebrate BCLS’ 100th anniversary, join us in making a 3D paper diamond through origami.
Burlington County Library
Flappers: Women of the 1920s
Saturday, Oct. 9, Noon
The 1920s was a period of American history that significantly changed how society perceived and accepted women. It was a time of growth for American women. This presentation discusses the emergence of American women from the demure Gibson Girl to the flashy Flapper. It will also discuss the societal impact of WWI, the fashion of the time and the influence of literature, movies and art. Presented in period costume by Trish Chambers Productions.
Happy Birthday BCLS! Storytime
Tuesday, Oct. 19, 11:30 a.m.
Come celebrate the library’s 100th anniversary with us. Enjoy specially themed stories, songs and fun! All children are welcome, but this event is geared towards ages 2 – 6.
100th Anniversary Concert with Turtle Dance Music
Wednesday, Oct. 20, 11:30 a.m
Sponsored by the Friends of the Burlington County Library Inc.
Join us in celebrating the library’s 100th anniversary! Reading Rocks: The Music, Bubble and Comedy Show is a high-energy music and comedy show. It encourages reading and a love of books by engaging kids (and adults!) with songs, comedy, bubbles and music technology. Best of all, it’s inclusive for all kids, including those on the autism spectrum. Each song is designed to help kids learn, dance, sing and have fun, all while learning why reading is so important for their future and a great way to spend their free time.
Outdoor Storytime: BCLS’ 100th Anniversary
Thursday, Oct. 7, 10:30 a.m. – Youth Services
Located at Arrow Head Park Archway.
Join us in celebration of BCLS’ 100th anniversary! This will be a library-themed storytime filled with songs and fun outside in the fresh air (weather-permitting). The storytime will take place outside of Diamonds at Arrow Head Park Archway, located at 984 Tuckerton Road, Marlton, NJ 08053. All ages are welcome, but this event is geared towards children ages 3 – 6. Families are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chairs.
Book Discussion: Between the Lines
Monday, Oct. 25, 2 p.m.
Join us to discuss Between the Lamps, a short story written in 1921 by Sherwood Anderson. Free copies available at the information desk.
Outdoor Jazz Storytime
Wednesday, Oct. 6, 10:30 a.m.
Join Miss Sarah for an Outdoor Jazz Storytime and Dance Party as part of BCLS' 100th Anniversary celebration. The event will take place outside (weather permitting) at Collins Lane Park, which is located at 57 Collins Lane Maple Shade. The event is designed for kids of all ages. Families are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chairs.
Works in Progress Writing Workshop
Wednesday, Sept. 29, 7 p.m.
In honor of the 100th Anniversary of the Burlington County Library System, we will travel back in time with a writing prompt. This month’s prompt is to imagine what life was like in your Burlington County hometown in 1921. Were there more cows than cars? How would your character dress to visit the library for the first time? Bring your work or email your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will meet in the Adult Services center in the Pemberton Library for a lively discussion about 1921!
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” Scavenger Hunt
Friday, Oct. 1 – Saturday, Oct. 30 – All Day
Registration not required.
Step into the 1920s and help Newt Scamander locate his missing magical creatures! The magical creatures will be hidden around the entire library. All contest entries will be entered to win a prize. The winner will be notified on Nov. 1.
A 100 Book Storytime!
Tuesday, Oct. 5, All Day
Registration not required.
Children of all ages and their caregivers are invited to join us for a 100 Book Storytime! Join us throughout the day as we read 100 children's books to celebrate 100 years of the Burlington County Library System. Come and go as you please. If the weather allows, we’ll be across from the library in Tomlinson Park. If it's not so nice out, we'll be reading in the Children's Room, where masks will be required for anyone over 2 years of age.
Flappers: Women of the 1920s
Thursday, Oct. 14, 6:30 p.m.
The 1920s was a period of American history that significantly changed how society perceived and accepted women. It was a time of growth for American women. This presentation discusses the emergence of American women from the demure Gibson Girl to the flashy Flapper. It will also discuss the societal impact of WWI, the fashion of the time and the influence of literature, movies and art. Presented in period costume by Trish Chambers Productions