March officially is National Reading Month, the time to remember, with apologies to Paul Simon, that it's all happening at the library.
Executive Director Jayne Beline says that it's National Reading Month every month at the Parsippany Free Public Library.
"Our customers will tell you that they visit year-round to attend free educational programs for adults, teens and children, find out about new technology and borrow materials," she said. "The library offers all these free resources and a very friendly welcoming staff."
The township's library system boasts three branches to serve as information centers for this diverse community:
Main Branch, 449 Halsey Road
Mt. Tabor Branch, 31 Trinity Park
Lake Hiawatha Branch, 68 Nokomis Ave.
Yes, it's three branches of one library system, meaning that in terms of materials in circulation, you can obtain the books or media you want at any location. However, each site is special and boasts its own unique qualities and usefulness.
At Lake Hiawatha's site, Branch Head Aida Courtney said the collection on site is tailored to the neighborhood's population.
"The materials selected reflect the tastes of our clientèle," she said. "The Lake Hiawatha Branch has several popular Gujarati magazine titles that are not available at the other branches. The branch's book collection includes the works of some authors who are not popular at the the other locations. This is particularly true of the branch's science fiction collection. This genre is more extensive than at the other locations."
The Mt. Tabor site's defining characteristic is its size, according to its manager, Debbie Insetta.
"Being the smallest of the branches, the Mount Tabor branch library is truly a neighborhood library, creating a warm, friendly and cozy environment, while providing excellent service," she said. "Due to the size of the branch, the staff is very familiar with their customers.The staff is able to offer suggestions and recommendations knowing and anticipating may of its customers’ interests and needs.
"Comfortable, small group story times and a variety of children’s programs and activities are offered as well. Many of these programs and activities that are offered in the summertime take place right outside the branch in the park. The neighborhood setting and easy access to the branch also allows for many of the young adults to take advantage of volunteer opportunities."
The main branch is, of course, the mothership. The spacious Halsey Road building is the heart of the system and boasts a large children's section, a teen room for high schoolers and more.
Whatever your branch, the system allows for the sharing of all services and materials. If something you seek is not at the branch you are visiting, just talk with the librarian and it can be obtained for you.
Among the offerings throughout the library are the following:
Volunteer Opportunities – If you want to do your part to help the library effort, there certainly are opportunities to do so.
"Children should contact the children’s department and teens should contact the teen department," said Jayne Beline, executive director of the institution. "We have limited opportunities for adults and there is an application screening process. If a person is interested, they should call the general number 973-887-5150, and a library staff member will direct them."
Computer/Internet/Machine Usage – The library provides personal computers featuring the Internet and Microsoft Word 2010, Excel 2010, and PowerPoint 2010 at no cost for the use of town residents. There is a 30-minute limit if customers are waiting to use a PC. For-fee printing is available; users must create a printing account for this. Black and white copies are 10 cents per page and color pages are 25 cents each.
Classes/Workshops – "We offer a variety of programs/workshops from the basics of using a PC to beginner classes in Word and Excel," Beline said. "We also offer classes on library resources, job searching, and social media."
Other offerings including one on one sessions for learning about email and downloading e-books, and the system's emerging technologies librarian is available from 9:30-11 a.m. each week for "Tech Thursdays" to answer customers' technology questions.
Book Club – The library offers in-house and online book clubs to allow youth and adult residents to share their thoughts on classics and new arrivals and their love of reading. The main library has two book discussion groups: The Evening Book Club, which meets the last Wednesday of the month at 7:15 p.m. and reads mostly contemporary best sellers. The Historical Fiction Book Club meets the second Wednesday of each month at 1:30 p.m. and targets books in which historical events or interesting locales serve as a backdrop. Both concentrate on fiction with a smattering of non-fiction. (Beline said there is a waiting list for new members in both. The Mt. Tabor branch also has a contemporary-themed book group that meets the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. Details are available on the library website.
DVDs/CDs/VHS/Microfiche/Magazines Rentals/Displays – "We carry most popular film titles as well as a selection of foreign films, classics, and documentaries," said Beline. "We also have a large collection of TV shows. We carry a number of Blu-ray titles. We have video games for the Xbox 360, the Wii, and the Playstation 3. We also carry CDs in a variety of genres including popular, country, rap, and classical."
Kids Area – All three branches have areas and programs for children. For those 13 and over, there is the Teen Central section that houses the library's young adult collection and features fiction and non-fiction titles for grades 6-12, as well as magazines, graphic novels, and test preparation books. (And they can volunteer to serve on the library's Teen Advisory Board. For younger readers, there are programs including crafts, games, storytimes, holiday events, summer reading and more. The website features calendars and schedules that are updated regularly.
Donation area – "People can drop off books at the front desk at each of our branch libraries," Beline explained. "We will get them to the Friends who hold book sales and conduct sales at the Book Nook. All proceeds go to the library. Books can also be dropped off at the Book Nook located on the lower level of the Parsippany Community Center Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m."
Friends of the Library — Much of the volunteer work concerning the library system involves the Friends, a core of 25-30 active members who meet monthly to discuss ways to raise funds to support the library and also have fun doing it. All proceeds from group fundraising events go to the library to be used for programs or events, such as the Summer Reading Program and the Film Series at the Lake Hiawatha Library. The funds are also used for the purchase of equipment such as the Children’s Early Literacy Computers.For info, contact the group president, Teresa Baderschneider, at email@example.com.
You can support our group and the library in many ways. The first and foremost is by becoming a member. The basic individual membership is only $10 and $15 for a family membership. Any donation is greatly appreciated. To join, go to our website and print out a copy of our membership from and mail it to us or stop by your library and pick up a membership form. Once you have joined, then make time and stop in at one of our meetings and see what we are all about and get involved. The other ways to support our efforts is by attending our dining out events (usually four per year), by purchasing books at our “Bag Sale” and by participating in any of our other fundraising events, which are all advertised in the local papers, on the library website, the weekly e-mail newsletter and on the FOL website, www.friendsoftheparsippanylibrary.weebly.com. If you require additional information, contact Teresa Baderschneider at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Events — All three branches host a wide range of events from lectures to performances to exhibitions. The calendar of events is available on the website and within each branch.
E-book Rental – The library loans e-books through DigitalLibraryNJ.org. Instructions for using the service can be found at the Information Services Desk. Alternately, customers may schedule an appointment to bring in their eReader or tablet and obtain technical help on getting started.
"We also loan Nooks that are preloaded with popular bestsellers so that people can see what the e-reader experience is all about," said Beline. "The Nooks are in high demand, and customers can join the waiting list by placing a hold on the Nook."
Meeting Room Rentals - Meeting room use is free to Parsippany residents provided the group is a nonprofit or civic organization. Nonprofit groups outside of Parsippany are charged $25 per hour; for-profit groups are charged an hourly fee of $50. Recital rentals are $200 for up to 4 hours (Parsippany resident) and $300 for four hours for non-residents. (This applies to the main branch only). Contact information: Susan Hartsuiker at the main branchat 973-887-510, ext 202; at Lake Hiawatha, call Annette Terrone at 973-335-0952.
Hours of operation: The main branch is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays (except for summer) from 1-5 p.m.
The Lake Hiawatha site is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Mt. Tabor location is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
The Parsippany Free Public Library calls itself a "world of ideas." Avail yourself of it during National Reading Month and all year long.