Letter to the Editor:

 

 There’s a precious gem in Monmouth County, and like many precious things, it is right there in front of you. But because it’s been there so long, folks sometimes treat it like an old friend…somebody you can count on but don’t have to visit very often.  But this year, it’s worth a stop and visit, if only to see that an old friend has not only kept up with the times, but the priceless gem has a new sparkle and shine.   

    I’m talking about the Monmouth County Library, that group of gathering spots…actually there are 13 branches and another 14 members covering all but a handful of Monmouth County’s communities….that is home to more than a million and a half books and a total collection of more than one and three quarters million items from DVDs and eBooks to magazines and downloadable audiobooks.

    With the latest additions, you might say your new best friend the Monmouth County Library is right there in the palm of your hand!

  Long since recognized as one of the largest public library collections in the state of New Jersey, the Monmouth County library is constantly in transition, constantly in a state of change to reinvent, shift and grow. While it still remains that comfortable old friend you can count on for research, homework, quiet, recreation and research, it also has a new forward momentum and is attracting readers, borrowers, visitors, and enthusiasts even when the doors are closed for the night.

  The Monmouth County Library not only has welcomed the electronic world; it has embraced it!

   While today’s County library still sees more than one and a third million patrons a year coming through its doors in Manalapan, Shrewsbury, Atlantic Highlands, Allentown, Howell and its six other branches, you can now add to that the nearly 80,000 eBooks and services offered its patrons on line, or the 110 online and downloadable magazines available. Close to eight per cent of the Monmouth County library circulates through electronic media, serving the patrons who prefer to access their recreation, education and research on line, in the comfort of their home, or on the go.

      Today’s Monmouth County Library invites you to do more with your library, things like using all of the electronic resources available at no charge, just by using your library card.  There’s Instant Flix for streaming video, Universal Class and Lynda.com for online courses, eBooks, Flipster, Zinion, America’s News Bank and the New York Times, and within the library, even Ancestry.com and West Law!  

     Does that all sound too new and too strange? Take advantage of the course library professionals are offering to guide you through using all the electronic resources available. There is one class on Thursday, Aug. 11, and another on Thursday, Sept. 8, both from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and both at the Manalapan Headquarters at 125 Symmes Drive. You’re even invited to bring your own laptop so you’ll be more comfortable, and handouts to take home as reminders will also be available. See how you can check out your books on line, or get a reminder if they’re overdue. Learn what is in the wings for further technological advances in the near future. See how your old friend will be your new BF in the electronic age.

     I always like to say the library is the cornerstone of your mind, but with the newest technology and advance programs, it is even more than that at the Monmouth County Library of the 21st century. We are still a cultured institution, we still offer free access. But in today’s world, we are state of the art, the newest example of how technology can and does make our lives better. We’re still that warm, dependable friend of the past, but now we can be with you on the go, in your home, or wherever you want to use your computer, cell phone or Ipad. Visit our webpage at www.monmouthcountylib.org, or download our mobile app at Monmouth.boopsie.com; follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Your old friend is waiting to hear from you.     

 

Renee Swartz

Chair,  Monmouth County Library Commission