MONTCLAIR, NJ — Following a nationwide search, the Montclair Public Library board of trustees is pleased and excited to announce that Janet Torsney will serve as the Library’s Director. Torsney had been appointed as interim director in February 2022.
The MPL has worked vigorously with community leaders and patrons to envision the quality of leadership that will best serve Montclair’s vast and diverse interests. There is strong agreement that the Public Library is a vital part of what has made Montclair a highly desirable community in which to live.
The search process attracted a wide range of candidates from nearby and across the country with varying degrees of expertise. This reflected the esteem with which Montclair is known and the respect the MPL commands for its long-standing service. The initial field of applicants was narrowed to a diverse field of seventeen candidates that a search firm believed met not only the qualifications but also demonstrated a keen understanding of the values of this community and an apparent commitment to serve at length. After a more extensive review of their credentials, seven candidates were selected for interview by an MPL search committee, comprised of Will Atkins, Chair, Diana Lunin, JoAnn McCullough, and later Marcos Vargas. The two candidates that emerged from this process were interviewed by the entire Trustees Board. At the culmination of this highly competitive process, the Board selected Janet Torsney as the new Director.
Torsney comes to this role with a strong familiarity with Montclair and a commitment to the Public Library. Earlier in her career, she served as Assistant Director of the MPL and recently provided leadership as Interim Director during the search process. These experiences allowed the Trustees to not only consider her qualifications as an applicant but also to witness her work firsthand. The Trustees are excited about giving her the opportunity to continue the work she started in February and share her vision of a library that is innovative and willing to engage new services.
During the interview process, the Trustees experienced her as a strategic thinker and a warm and engaging personality who has also resonated with the staff and the community. Recognizing that the Director of the library plays a critical role in working with Township leaders, the Board is confident that she will be viewed as a valued colleague. The Board looks to draw upon her considered experience in budgeting and finance. Janet’s strong background in personnel management also positions her to work effectively in program planning and evaluation.
Torsney has served as a library professional since 2008, spanning several communities, including Caldwell, Bradley Beach, Keyport, and the Brielle public libraries. Previously she worked in public affairs and communications for nearly 30 years. Torsney is distinguished as a recipient of the NJ Library Association Service Award in 2017, and was president of the Association’s Administration and Management section. She holds an M.S. in Library Science from Rutgers University and a B.A. from Georgetown University.
Torsney said, “Montclair is a great town. I look forward to working with the staff and the Board to assure that the Public Library does everything possible to support Montclair and its outstanding community.” Torsney is also cognizant of the scrutiny that libraries often face and will help the Public Library be a responsible interlocutor with the community.
JoAnn McCullough, President of the Trustees Board, said, “The library’s leadership carefully deliberated the profile of the Public Library and the kind of leadership required to lead it in the years ahead.” She expressed pride in the way the Trustees dedicated time and energy to the multiple meetings and dialogue that were required. At the same time, McCullough noted and commended the exceptional commitment by the staff in providing seamless and creative services at a time when COVID shuttered doors and now again as the Public Library resumes more normal activities.