The Bernardsville Public Library this year is honoring borough resident Pat Bankowski as 2013 Volunteer of the Year. She was recognized at a reception in the library at 1 Anderson Hill Road hosted by the Board of Trustees on Sunday afternoon.
"Pat Bankowski has been the moving force in bringing the information in thelibrary's Edwin S. Spinning Local History collection into the digital age," said Pat Kennedy-Grant, Readers' Services Manager at the library.
The volunteer and Bernardsville resident uploaded the library's record of obituaries dating back to the early years of the 20th century and worked with staff to make the historic Fred Pitney Crater collection of local photographic images available to the public, Kennedy-Grant said.
"Now, she keeps the obituary record up-to-date and is working on making wedding records available online," Kennedy-Grant said of the hard-working volunteer.
After retiring as a data analyst for AT&T and Prudential, Bankowski was recruited to join the Local History Room volunteer committee by Marion Kennedy, former committee chair.
"I frequently met Marion while walking my dog, and she told and she told me about the Local History Room. I had to admit that I had never been in there," Bankowski recalled.
However, "I loved the library, but somehow I had missed the Local History Room," she said. She started to volunteer in 2010 and said she was amazed by the richness of the materials in the collection.
"So many photographs, the old Bernardsville News volumes, the files of information—it was overwhelming and exciting," she said. "I have lived in Bernardsville all my life except for eleven years, and working in the Local History Room I can see how it was at various times and try to ensure that our own times are documented as well for the future."
Reception held Sunday
John La Duc spoke on behalf of the Board of Trustees at the reception. Bernardsville Mayor Lee Honecker led the toast to thank Pat Bankowski for her volunteer service, and Pat Kennedy-Grant, Readers’ Services Manager and Local History Liaison, presented her with a certificate of recognition and a gift book.
"The library couldn't be as effective as it is without the dedication and volunteerism of people like Pat," said Donald Burset, President of the LibraryBoard of Trustees. "Their contributions and expertise, truly make Bernardsville Library'a world at your doorstep.'"