A Curious Addition

November 27, 2007 at 1:01 am Leave a comment

This past weekend, I spent some time at one of my much-frequented childhood libraries – Monmouth County Library in Shrewsbury, New Jersey.

When I was a kid, going to the Shrewsbury Library (as we called it) was a special treat. For one, the drive from Neptune to Shrewsbury was pleasant and usually interesting as the shops that lined the streets we traveled were always changing and I enjoyed seeing what new stores had moved in. Two, even though we we weren’t official patrons of that library (it cost $50 or more to join if you didn’t live in town), it was where we did our more ‘serious’ research. I spent many hours researching for term papers and scouring college scholarship books.

Most attractive to me, however, was the fact that the children’s room had a dollhouse. I think I must have spent nearly a year’s worth of my life sitting on the floor, staring into that dollhouse (there was Plexiglas front to keep kids from reaching in and rearranging the occupants) and making up stories. This library also had a summer reading club that my brother and I partook in -and won many certificates for free personal pizzas at Pizza Hut.

Not too long ago, my mother mentioned that the Monmouth County Library had undergone a renovation. This past weekend, as I was working on my National Novel Writing Month (www.nanowrimo.com) novel, I took the opportunity to check out the renovations.

The exterior of the library had been transformed into an attractive, somewhat cohesive mix of contemporary architecture and original boring white walls.  While they may have, it wasn’t immediately obvious that they increased the size of the building (though the children’s room was noticeably larger.) Also, there may or may not be more public space on the second floor. I’m not sure what they improved, if improving the library (as opposed to simply updating the look) was the goal. The hour and a half I spent there didn’t clue me in to the extent of the rennovation -though this was probably because I needed to concentrate on my word count and didn’t have much time to trot around and explore.

So my resulting opinion is: I don’t really get it. Obviously, I’ll have to visit again.

Below is a photo of the “Quiet Room.” I’m excited that many libraries are now adding rooms with comfy chairs and gorgeous views. When the librarian came in to tell me that the library was closing, she whispered even though I was the only person in the room!Quite Room

Stats:

Library overall grade: C+ish for the new rennovation, A for still smells like I remember

Books oggled: Only a few, I didn’t have time to read. I did skim through a book titled “Never Knit Your Man a Sweater (Unless you’ve got the ring)” by Judith Durant, Storey Publishing.

Overheard Conversation: A librarian asked a parton how the play he was writing was coming along…it was an interesting conversation to listen to.  I don’t often hear playwrites describe their process.

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Entry filed under: Tri-state area.

Honan-Allston Images from Cambridge Library

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