Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Kinnelon Library is in Your House! Yes, it is.

The Kinnelon Public Library is in Your House!

You don't believe me?

Well, I'm right and ... you're wrong.

It's in your COMPUTER!

OK, some of you may know this already, but the truth is, in many ways it's a lot easier and more productive to access the library at than it is to go there.

And the truth is that 95% of the work involved in getting the books you want is best done from your own house, online.

Because there is a virtual library out there that is bigger than the physical bricks-and-mortar library.

Of course, eventually you do have to go to the library ... but:

1) You can reserve any book in the Morris County Public Library system whether it's "OUT" or not, and even, by using NJCAT [also accessible from the Kinnelon Library website], reserve books from the entire State of New Jersey. That is cool.

2) You can see all the books in the system (not just at your library) by an author, or on a subject listed for you and ready to put on hold.

3) You can access best seller lists, NY Times, LA Times, etc., and reserve from the lists.

4) You can see what books you have borrowed from the library, when they are due, if you have any fines outstanding, what books you have on reserve which are not in yet, and those which are waiting for you to pick up.

We do all of these things! And more.

However, the library's search capabilities are exactly literal -- you get what you type in, but no more. If you miss the author's name or book title by one letter, you are out of luck.

So if you type in Michael Crighton instead of Michael Crichton, you get zip, nada, zilch, nothing.

But you can use AMAZON in tandem with the Library Catalog. Amazon will give you results if you just get close.

Plus Amazon will tell you a lot more about the books, and Amazon will tell you about books not yet published but about to be. So you can get your favorite author reserved. For some period of time before the book is actually available at the Kinnelon Library, you will see a message "Being Acquired by the Library," at which point you CAN reserve the book. Be the first to read it!

OK, now I will admit that there is a lot more to the library, and to our library than just looking up the books we want. As far as the Kinnelon Public Library goes, it's the closest we have to a Public Meeting Space -- we vote there -- there are programs and concerts and all sorts of things taking place there -- programs for kids, poetry contests ... and who knows what all. [See Kinnelon Library Holds Chagall Art Workshop, Kinnelon Student Art Exhibit - December 2008, Kinnelon Winter Festival 2009, The Lenape Lifeways: Kinnelon's Native American History and Kinnelon's Winter Festival -- so far!]

Also sometimes you just want to go and look at physical books -- touch them, read the jackets -- and sometimes you want to talk to a librarian.

I'm not going to take that away from you!

Think how nice it will be, though, to know that you have reserved all of those books you really wanted, couldn't find, but finally did find, and that you can see them listed in your account display from the comfort of your own home, and then, well, go get them.

When I'm exploring new authors, I keep one window open (or 2 or 3) in Amazon, and another for the Kinnelon Library; that way I can cut and paste titles and authors names, and look up books in different categories at the same time.

You can, too. At the library. Or at home. Especially at home.

Let me know how it works for you.

~ Ted

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