Tightening your budget? Here are 10 things you can do – entirely free – at the Hoboken Public Library. We’re betting that at least a few of them will surprise you.
1. Get a library card. All you need is an ID and proof of Hoboken residence. You can get your card at the library at 500 Park Avenue or apply online at http://hoboken.bccls.org/.
2. Borrow books, not just from Hoboken, but also from more than 70 other libraries, thanks to the Bergen County Cooperative Library System (BCCLS). No matter what book you have a hankering for, chances are good that someone in the BCCLS system has it. You can order your title and be notified when it arrives in Hoboken. A World Language Collection has titles in more than 13 languages, including Chinese, Dutch and Hebrew. There are also downloadable instruction materials for learning over 36 languages, from Albanian to Vietnamese, plus ESL (English as a second language) in 16 different languages. Large print books are available too.
3. Visit a museum. Did you know you can borrow passes to the American Museum of Natural History and The Paley Center for Media (formerly The Museum of Television & Radio), compliments of the Friends of the Hoboken Public Library? These free membership cards may be checked out for 24 hours, but there is, however, a late fee of $5 a day.
4. Meet friends who love to read. The library’s book club meets the third Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. In January, the club will read stories set in New York. Call 201-420-2347 to reserve a spot.
5. Treat your kids. Check out the monthly First Saturday programs for families, funded by the Friends, with free entertainment and educational activities. Programs for 2009 will be posted on the library’s website, http://hoboken.bccls.org. Other ongoing programs: Baby and Me, held on the last Monday of every month at 11a.m., features simple songs and stories. Toddler Story Time 1, for children ages 19-30 months, is held every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. Toddler Story Time 2, for children ages 19-30 months, is held every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. These programs are each limited to the first 15 attendees, and a Hoboken library card is required.
6. Learn about Hoboken’s history. The library’s historical collection includes more than 600 books about our town, plus maps and more than 1,000 black-and-white photos. Also included are city directories, city council minutes dating back to the early 1900s, and transcripts from the “Vanishing Hoboken” Oral History project, a collaboration between the Friends and the Hoboken Historical Museum that chronicle the lives of Hobokenites from all walks of life during the 20th century.
7. Borrow an audio book or music CD. If you have a Windows system, you can even download these.
8. Borrow a DVD or a CD-ROM. Have we made our point that the library houses a lot more than books, books, and more books? Okay, then…
9. Go online. Free computers are available on the second floor for public use.
10. Give your teenager a place to hang out. Kids ages 11-17 have their own room in the library, with work tables, a couch, books, magazines, and three computers. On Fridays, kids in grades 6-12 are invited for PlayStation games at 3 p.m.
Thanks to everyone who signed the Friends of the Hoboken Library’s petition to restore library hours (which had been curtailed) and to urge the city to provide adequate funding, as required by state law, in the city budget.
Regular hours are expected to resume in the new year, and the budget prepared by Fiscal Control Officer Judy Tripodi does include the desired level of funding. However, at press time, the budget was not yet final, so the Friends urge Hoboken residents to let the mayor and their City Council representatives know (preferably by mail or e-mail) how much they value the library and its services, and the need for full funding.
Current Library Hours
Monday: 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Tuesday: 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Wednesday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday:
9 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday: noon-5 p.m., Sunday: Closed.
Children’s Room and Young Adult Department Hours
Monday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday: 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Wednesday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday: noon-5 p.m., Sunday: Closed.
This column is brought to you by The Friends of the Hoboken Public
Library, a non-profit group of volunteers dedicated to assisting the
Library. For more information about the Friends and the activities we
sponsor and to join the group, visit our website at www.hobokenfol.org.
Membership brochures are also available at the library.