By: Sarah Hudes
Last year, a plan was proposed to further develop the library to increase its appeal to teens and the older demographic. The goals of the plan were to, “expand the library’s role in creating a vibrant cultural, civic, and learning environment, increase community use and engagement with the library,” and to “ensure long-term sustainability and a healthy future for the library.”
Library-goers and staff members alike agree that the library is a resourceful establishment. I wanted to further investigate what it had to offer, and the results were overwhelming. Many seemingly common aspects of public libraries are taken to another level in Plainsboro.
When you walk into the library, the first thing that strikes you is the open cafe area with small circular tables and tall wide windows. While this is a great place to enjoy your The Grind coffee before proceeding to the depths of the library, it is also an area where students can be tutored. Tutoring is available Mondays through Thursdays from 6pm- 8pm.
The Geek Desk, a free volunteer-run program, helps people struggling with any technology. Whether it be your computer or tablet, they are there to help you almost every week day. Not surprisingly, very few students have heard about the Geek Desk at the library. Many older Plainsboro residents, however, frequently take advantage of the cost free amenity.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. There are free Tai Chi classes provided every Saturday at 10 AM. Talk about cultured. This peaceful martial arts class is one of the library’s expanded variety of resources and events.
Like the students at WW-P, the Plainsboro library excels in the arts. Some of the programs provided include a Youth Arts Month in March, Artists’ group (Mondays), and textile demonstrations. Every inch of the library is adorned with form of art—especially the children’s floor, which contains colorful garlands and unique paper mâché. The most intriguing pieces, however, are the egg shaped wicker chairs which make for perfect reading nooks. Not only does the library provide appealing experiences for those interested in the arts, they are also well rounded in their academic programs.
Free wifi, computers, and printers are provided throughout the library, so it is an ideal place for students of all grades to work on group projects. Freshman Ishana Goyal said, “It’s a great place to film, it’s a great place to meet with group members, [and] it has a lot of great places around it.” The sought after study rooms allow students to discuss their work with classmates and tutors, or provides a distraction-free blocked off study area, something that most school libraries do not provide. Because of its popularity, the library allows you to reserve a room in advance on their website. The library also has an extensive selection of books, and if they don’t have what you are looking for, they are always open to requests.
With a wide variety of events ranging from book sales to dance lessons, it is impossible for someone not to find something to cater to their interests. One popular event, Art Group, allows artists of all levels to share their art with others.
Just recently, two New Jersey residents, Deepal Chodhari and Pratik Devasthale, performed authentic Hindustani classical music. The Santoor, the instruments these artists used, is one of the oldest instruments in India. A rounded cultural experience for Plainsboro residents is one of the library’s main goals, and events like these not only contribute to their ever-growing cultural spread, but also are wonderful for the many who enjoy music.
For bookworms, the library has weekly book clubs and monthly book sales. An for those who prefer to be the ones behind the scenes during these events, volunteering is available for teens and adults.
To apply to be a volunteer at the library, the process is simple. According to their website, “the magnificent volunteer support we get from the community,” is “one of the most delightful aspects of Plainsboro Public Library”. On top of that, the library would not be so cost free without their diligent volunteers.
The bare minimum is exactly what the Plainsboro Public Library is not. Its eclectic resources and events make for an everlasting and interesting experience. Leaving the library, you will feel like a true renaissance man.