Haddonfield Public Library Set to Reopen with New Director


Eric Zino was officially appointed as Director of Haddonfield Public Library on July 5. He enters the position with a vision of advancing the library’s brand as it reopens this summer. 

By Abby Schreiber

The historic Haddonfield Public Library. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.

The historic Haddonfield Public Library. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.

Eric Zino got his first job as a page for the Camden County Library System at 16, and even then, it was a dream come true.

Years later, the feeling is familiar for Zino, who on July 5 was named Director of the Haddonfield Public Library.

“My head has kinda stopped spinning out of amazement at this point, but it is a dream come true,” Zino said.

Zino was selected after an extensive vetting process polling library staff, borough residents, and Haddonfield officials to discover “what they wanted to see in terms of a future for the library,” said Deborah Marchand, President of the Haddonfield Friends of the Library. The board took those answers and compiled a job description, for which Zino was a near-perfect match.

“We had a lot of interesting, qualified people who came out and applied for the job,” Marchand said. Zino shared the community vision, but also “had qualities that are not learned that we wanted in our director.”

Zino (second from right) with library staffers Ginger O'Malley (seated, left), Kathleen Metrick, outgoing director Susan Briant (seated, right), Pam Alles, and Jeannie Reinking. Credit: Tricia Burrough.

Zino (second from right) with library staffers Ginger O’Malley (seated, left), Kathleen Metrick, outgoing director Susan Briant (seated, right), Pam Alles, and Jeannie Reinking. Credit: Tricia Burrough.

Zino, who has worked in libraries since 2002, joined the Haddonfield library in 2014 as its circulation manager, but enjoyed a broader role because then-director Susan Briant had confidence in his abilities, Marchand said.

Zino is confident that the transition from her tenure to his own will not be a dramatic one because Briant put her staff on a path of continuing the work she began before retiring at the end of 2015.

“I was hired by Susan, so a bit of her vision and what went into the library is still there,” Zino said.

“It’s still the same staff that she hired; it’s more just personal style.”

The Haddonfield Public Library has been closed for renovations since April 2015, having operated out of a pop-up location on Kings Highway in the meantime. During the overhaul, its patrons were offered temporary library access to the Camden County, Cherry Hill, and Haddon Heights public library systems. Zino hopes to continue cultivating those kinds of relationships as a fellow leader in the regional library community.

The pop-up Haddonfield Library Annex. Credit: Tricia Burrough.

The pop-up Haddonfield Library Annex. Credit: Tricia Burrough.

“We all know each other, collaborate with each other, pick each others’ brains,” Zino said.

The renovated Haddonfield library is set to open by the end of July; its satellite, pop-up location closed July 16.

The new location has new, open work spaces and seating; priorities Marchand said were tops in the redesign.

The library is also getting “beefed up” Wi-Fi, wireless printing, and new scanning and e-mailing accessibility.

“They’ll look around and find places where they want to work; want to come to, want to visit a few times a week,” Zino said. “I hope we’ve got the best chairs in town for people to sit in.”

The newly revamped library will feature a variety of technological advancements and services. It will offer computer training as patrons seek help learning how to operate digital devices and add media to them. The library is also in the process of digitizing its paper resources into a system that Zino said will provide “access with personality…thought out, and beautifully presented.”

“To me, a library is a one-stop shop for all kinds of information,” Zino said. “You get [everything from] the latest fiction and bestsellers, to research databases, to training. It’s more than just about the books.”

Haddonfield Public Library Director Eric Zino. Credit: Media Friendly PR.

Books enhance learning and “show people different points of view,” Zino said, but he hopes to bring the Haddonfield Public Library “brand” to the next level in terms of technology.

Zino wants to ensure that the library is seen as a place of continued learning for patrons of all ages—and if it isn’t, “I want to be able to address that and adapt,” he said.

“People go into a coffee shop or a Starbucks as though it’s their office away from home,” Zino said.

“They get Wi-Fi; they have space to work. The library can be that place, too, and it always has been that place.”

The library will also add a new 3D printer when it reopens, a tie-in with the Haddonfield public school system, which is already teaching students how to use the tool. The library wants to provide year-round access to the printer as well as to teach the broader community members how to use it.

“I have to figure out how to use it myself,” Zino said, “but I can’t wait to get it out of the box.”

That statement rings true of Zino at his new position; Marchand said the board and community are excited about what he will bring to the role.

I’m actually very excited,” she said. “[Zino]  has a lot of energy. He has a great vision of what makes a good library. His ideas are consistent with the board’s and community’s.”

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