Overhead view of the surrounding countryside

Resident-Managed Library Flourishes in 2022

Sep 9, 2022


The Applewood Library returns as a cultural, educational and social hub for the community

women in library

To the left of the Concierge Desk, you’ll find a cozy, comfortable and well-managed library, all thanks to the residents of Applewood. Resident Karen Slobodin, a former Brookdale Community College professor and facilitator of the Applewood Book Club, and 12 resident-volunteers oversee a collection of more than 1,000 books.

“There is something magical about holding a book, smelling the paper on which the words are printed and turning a page to find out what happens next,” says Karen, “That feeling just isn’t something you can get by logging onto a computer or speaking to Siri.”

Following the pandemic, the library re-opened this year with vigor and excitement. Volunteers have various responsibilities, from cataloging new and donated books to helping residents borrow current best sellers. There is something for everyone, including a sizeable collection of large print books, audio tapes, magazines, daily newspapers—and even DVDs. The CentraState Foundation provides funding for new book purchases and donations of like-new books up to three years old are welcomed. Books are organized alphabetically by genre, with mysteries and fiction being the most popular. Residents can even read book reviews written by other residents before choosing a book.

The Applewood library began more than 25 years ago in an empty apartment where donated books were stacked and residents could help themselves. Thanks to a donation by John Duckett, Jr. in honor of family residents Anna Smythe and Carolyn Duckett, a formal library was established with commercial bookcases, comfortable seating, and a conference table and chairs.

“After recently moving to Applewood, I was excited to become part of the library,” says a new resident volunteer. “It has been a wonderful way to meet new people and I really look forward to the days when I’m working.”

The warmth and sophistication of the space can be attributed to a warm, inviting fireplace flanked by artistic contributions from past and present residents, including one-of-a-kind iron sculptures, original oil paintings, Japanese Kyuhoshi dolls and imported pottery from England.

two women in library

“One of the best parts about the Applewood library is that no one will tell you to be quiet,” says Elaine, a longtime volunteer. “Our space is a social hub where you can stop by to read the Wall Street Journal, bump into a few neighbors and go off to lunch together.”

Applewood is all about convenience, choice and living life the way you want. That’s why we offer a large variety of things to do right here on our campus—from re-igniting your love of painting in our Art Studio, volunteering at our community library, joining the instrumental jam session or taking AquaFitness classes in the indoor pool. For more information about Applewood, contact us at 732-303-7416 to learn more about active and worry-free senior living.