With the closing of the Barnes and Noble in Succasunna, many customers are left asking, “Where do I go to get my books?”

Look no further than the Roxbury Library, located just a short distance away from the old Barnes and Noble location!  Conveniently housed on Main Street in Succasunna, the Roxbury Public Library has been a staple of the community since it was founded in 1959 by the Roxbury Woman’s Club. Since then, it has undergone a variety of changes and updates to modernize the classic view of what a library offers.

These changes vary from new, updated bathrooms to a completely new family friendly layout in the adult and children’s sections. In addition, updated programs provide a wide array of topics that are relevant to the goings-on in society as well as bring a break from the normal day-to-day routine.

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And most recently, Roxbury Library diverged from the traditional Dewey Decimal System found in most libraries' non-fiction sections.

In this new hybrid Dewey model, topics are now a main feature of the non-fiction sections. Books that were once grouped in numerical order, dwelling in long rows are now featured in an open-floor, colorful reinterpretation of traditional classification.

“The new layout is far more user-friendly to browse within subjects and themes,” said Library Director Radwa Ali, taking inspiration from the Princeton Library, which several years ago revised their non-fiction section to the bookstore model.

Colored labels mark topics ranging from ‘Art’ to ‘Science and Nature’ to ‘Law and Politics’. While the Dewey classification number is still present, the idea behind the switch is to bring attention to related books a patron may want.  Looking in the ‘Health and Wellness’ section can enable a patron to not only find the book they were originally looking for, but also ones they might not have previously considered.

The topics are set up in a natural flow to suggest similar and related books.  Those that find themselves looking at ‘Technology’ will find ‘Business’ just an arms reach away, since the two work hand in hand. Similarly, ‘Cooking’ lies but an aisle away from ‘Health and Wellness’ for all of those upcoming Holiday cooking marathons - and the new year's resolutions to follow soon after.

In order to help encourage the browsing of these topics -and the ability for patrons to find what they are looking for - new, colorful signs will arrive soon. They will find homes above each topic to help visitors easily navigate the new system. 

Don’t worry! Patrons will still be able to find their specific book while looking under the correct topic. Under each topic, the books will still be arranged in dewey decimal order to ensure some familiarity in the midst of change that consistently swirls around the library.

“The Friends of the Roxbury Library got to experience this new layout during our recent book sale,“ noted Patricia Beach, President of the Friends of the Library.   “It is so much more intuitive and helpful in suggesting related titles.  Now I’m able to wander in the sections like I would in a bookstore.”

And if you want a book for keeps, the Friends of the Library has an ongoing sale of gently used titles in its bookshop near the circulation desk.  Recent James Patterson hardcovers as well as other recent and classic books are available for a fraction of retail cost.

Next up at the Roxbury Library?  The introduction of a “Library of Things.” Soon, Roxbury Library resident cardholders will be able to borrow a variety of everyday items, from a Wifi hotspot, to an electrical test kit, auto scanner, a ukulele, disco ball, and other things people can use but don’t necessarily need to own.  Funded by local corporate and individual sponsors, Roxbury’s “Library of Things” is just another example of productive change within the library.

Not suited to languish in an age past, the Roxbury Library once more pushes the envelope on what a library can be rather than just sticking to what it was.