Friday, August 3, 2007

"Living Room" and "Listening Area" Are Hits at Library


We continue to receive favorable reviews for our "Senior Spaces" area. This past week we had a feature article in the Middlesex County section of the Star Ledger.

Here is the link to the article:

Here is the article as it appeared in the newspaper:

'Living room' and 'listening area' are hits at library

Thursday, August 02, 2007
Star-Ledger Staff

Senior citizens competing in Nintendo tournaments while teenagers read in the next room -- that's what the future of the Old Bridge Public Library looks like.

The library is undergoing a transformation aimed at bringing in people of all ages, thanks to $20,000 in grants from the state and the Eastern New Jersey Library Cooperative.

In the next few months, the library will become home to "Senior Spaces," a pilot program for the state designed to make the library a more inviting place for baby boomers, their parents and their children. The additions include a television and DVD player, an area with rocking chairs and more computers.

The project was designed by Assistant Library Director Allan Kleiman, who has long felt that many adults think the library is only for children, students and senior citizens.

"The reality is, people like to find a space in the library that is geared to them, and is comfortable for them, and has materials geared toward them," he said.

Kleiman was awarded $10,000 from the Eastern New Jersey Library Cooperative to fund the project, money that the New Jersey State Library agreed to match.

The first phase of the project is already in place in Old Bridge. One section of the library has been converted into a "living room" with comfortable chairs, books and other materials for middle-aged patrons and their parents, with a row of rocking chairs where people may sit and chat.

In addition, Kleiman has created a "listening area" with a television and DVD player, as well as a phonograph that plays old records dating back to 1933. Another area will have computers and equip ment to serve the visually impaired.

The state grant will go towards creating an interactive classroom with computers and other equip ment, where people may learn technology-based skills such as how to use a digital camera. Klei man also intends to buy a Nin tendo Wii video game console, which he hopes would be useful to senior citizens. Recent studies have suggested older adults may improve their hand-eye coordination from playing video games, he said, and he hopes to eventually organize a tournament.

So far, Kleiman said the library's patrons have taken to the changes. He's seen teenagers playing DVDs and CDs, senior citizens have been bringing in their old records and everyone seems to like the rocking chairs.

"People have just adopted this like it was here all the time," he said. "It's become an instant part of the library."

Kathleen Peiffer, director of the development bureau of for the state library, said other libraries are watching this project with interest.

"He's set the template for a wonderful program," Peiffer said. "I can't wait to see other communities replicate this."

Allison Steele may be reached at or (732) 404-8083.
© 2007 The Star Ledger
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