Janet Torsney appointed Director of Montclair Public Library
MONTCLAIR, NJ – Following a nationwide search, the Montclair Public Library Board is pleased and delighted to announce that Janet Torsney will serve as Director of the Library. Torsney had been named acting manager in February 2022.
MPL has worked vigorously with community leaders and patrons to envision the quality of leadership that will best serve the broad and diverse interests of Montclair. Everyone agrees that the public library is a vital part of what has made Montclair such a popular community to live in.
The search process attracted a wide range of applicants from the region 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 his long service. The initial field of candidates was narrowed down to a diverse field of seventeen candidates who, according to a recruitment agency, not only met the qualifications, but also demonstrated a deep understanding of the values of this community and an apparent commitment to long service. After further review of their credentials, seven candidates were selected for interview by an MPL search committee, consisting of Will Atkins, President, Diana Lunin, JoAnn McCullough, and later Marcos Vargas. The two candidates who emerged from this process were interviewed by the full Board. Following this highly competitive process, the board selected Janet Torsney as its 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 Deputy Director of MPL and recently provided leadership as Acting Director during the search process. These experiences allowed administrators to not only consider her qualifications as a candidate, but also to witness her work first-hand. The administrators are delighted to give her the opportunity to continue the work she started in February and to share her vision of a library that is innovative and ready to engage in new services.
During the interview process, directors perceived her as a strategic thinker and a warm, engaging personality who also resonated with staff and the community. Recognizing that the library manager plays a vital role in working with township leaders, the board is confident that she will be viewed as a valued colleague. The Board seeks to draw on its thoughtful experience in budgeting and finance. Janet’s strong background in personnel management also enables her to work effectively in program planning and evaluation.
Torsney has been a professional librarian since 2008, covering multiple communities including Caldwell, Bradley Beach, Keyport and Brielle Public Libraries. Previously, she worked in public affairs and communications for nearly 30 years. Torsney distinguished himself as the recipient of the NJ Library Association Service Award in 2017 and served as Chair of the Association’s Administration and Management Section. She holds a Masters in Library Science from Rutgers University and a Bachelors degree from Georgetown University.
Torsney said, “Montclair is a big city. I look forward to working with staff and the board to ensure that the public library is doing all it can to support Montclair and its exceptional community. Torsney is also aware of the scrutiny that libraries often face and will help the public library to be a responsible interlocutor with the community.
JoAnn McCullough, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said, “Library management has carefully deliberated on the profile of the public library and the type of leadership required to lead it in the years to come. She said she was proud of how the directors devoted time and energy to the multiple meetings and dialogues required. At the same time, McCullough noted and praised the exceptional commitment of staff to providing transparent and creative services at a time when COVID shut down and now again as the public library resumes more normal operations.