Following a nationwide search, the Montclair Public Library board of trustees has announced that the interim director, Janet Torsney, will be the new library director. 

Earlier in her career, Torsney served as assistant director of the library, giving library leaders a chance to witness her work firsthand. During the search for a new director, she stepped in as interim director, replacing former Director Peter Coyl, who left in 2021 to take a new position at the Sacramento Public Library in California

"Montclair is a great town,” Torsney said. “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 has served as a library professional since 2008, working in such communities as Caldwell, Bradley Beach, Keyport and Brielle. Previously she worked in public affairs and communications for nearly 30 years. 

In 2017, she received the N.J. Library Association Service Award, and she is president of the association's administration and management section. 

She holds a master’s degree in library science from Rutgers University and a bachelor of arts from Georgetown University.

The search process for the new director attracted a wide range of candidates from the area and across the country. The initial field of applicants was narrowed to a diverse field of 17 candidates who a search firm believed met the qualifications of the position and demonstrated an understanding of the values of Montclair’s community. 

After a more extensive review of the candidates’ credentials, seven individuals were selected for interviews by the library’s search committee, composed of board Chairman Will Atkins, board Secretary Diana Lunin, board President JoAnn McCullough and, later, Marcos Vargas, director of humanities for Montclair Public Schools. Two candidates emerged from the process and were interviewed by the full board.

"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,” McCullough said. 

The library director plays a critical role in working with township leaders. The board plans to draw upon Torsney’s experience in budgeting and finance, and her background in personnel management. 

The trustees are excited about giving Torsney the opportunity to continue the work she started in February and share her vision of a library that is innovative and willing to engage in new services, McCullough said.