TEANECK — For Shinae Hyun, one of her favorite things about running a library in the United States is the bustling atmosphere.
“It’s not just about books,” Hyun said. “We offer a lot more programs. The libraries here are filled with happy noises. This is not a place to sit and study.
Hyun, a Dumont resident who took over as director of the Teaneck Public Library on Feb. 1, was the former director of the Haworth Public Library, a position she had held since 2016. She got her start at the public library de Leonia in 2010, working six years as a young adult technology and outreach librarian and user services manager.
Prior to that, Hyun earned a bachelor’s degree in library and information science from Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea, and a master’s degree in library science from Pratt Institute in Manhattan.
She came to America to participate in an internship in 2006 at the Paramus Public Library. She loved it so much that she decided to immigrate to the United States for further education in 2008.
“I never went anywhere but Korea back then,” Hyun said. “I wanted to learn about different cultures and languages. It was a fun opportunity.”
Libraries in Korea and the United States are very different, Hyun said. While libraries in Korea focus more on creating a quiet study space, libraries in the United States tend to operate as community centers. “It’s seen very differently,” she said.
Hyun said she hopes to continue to make the library a vital part of the community that connects all residents and has a bit of something for everyone.
“Some people may use books, spaces, computers, programming, and some people may come just to have human interaction,” Hyun said. “I think it’s really important right now. For more than two years people have been isolated and felt alone. I think we can play a very important role in creating human connections.”
The Teaneck Public Library is aging, so Hyun also hopes to do what she can to modernize the building by working with the city council and library board.
“The first priority is the building because we desperately need more space,” Hyun said.
The library offers collections in Hebrew and Spanish, but if the library has more space, Hyun would also like to expand its collection to meet the needs of more of the city’s diverse community.
Stephanie Noda is a local reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
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