MONTVILLE, NJ – It’s been 25 years since the Montville Township Public Library moved into its current building at 90 Horseneck Rd., and TAPinto Montville spoke to current Library Director Allan Kleimann about some of the changes the library has gone through in that period. Kleimann joined the Montville Library in 2009 after serving as interim director for two years.
“The board told me they would search for a director, but they never did,” he said. “But I was happy to stay! I never thought I’d be here this long! Who knows, I could be here for the 30th anniversary.”
Kleimann’s admiration for the site and building are noticeable. The building still doesn’t look dated after 25 years, he said, with its contemporary design.
“It has staying power,” Kleimann said.
He appreciates the advantage that being next to the high school offers, because the library gets vitality from the proximity. “We have such a robust after-school program [Teen Advisory Board] because they take advantage in a very positive way.”
The technology is one thing that has changed a great deal, he said. Patrons used to borrow VHS tapes, and although borrowing DVDs is still very popular, now patrons can stream movies using the library’s Kanopy program. The staff checking out books has changed to patrons checking themselves out. A new technology associate will be helping patrons with their devices, and the library has been offering tech classes like “How to use your phone as a GPS” for years.
Speaking of programs, the library has daily programs that appeal to many tastes and ages, Kleimann said.
“We’ve tried to provide programs for all ages and we’ve reached out to new communities by offering the Lunar New Year and Diwali celebrations,” he said. “We’re also proud of our Montville University seminars.”
In a town of about 22,000, the library has about 15,000 library card registrants, Kleimann said, and emails about library programs go out to about 7,000 people each week.
“People are very engaged with our website,” he said. “We get a lot fewer calls now. People don’t want to talk to people or wait in line. They’re using the website in the middle of the night – that wasn’t available 10 years ago. We’re the Google of everything.”
What’s Ahead in the Future
What can a patron expect in the future for the library?
“We want to make the library more useable – more ‘browse-able,’” Kleimann said. “We’re going to do more ‘merchandising,’ and make it easier to use, with a cookbook section, a travel section… It’ll be more like a book store. People thought that libraries would be gone by the year 2000 but no. We’re more vibrant than every because we change as the needs of the community changes. We’ve changed direction several times.”
Kleimann said that the library will feature upgraded and rearranged furniture, which will be a three-year project.
“First we’ll concentrate on the adult area, then the second year will be the teen area, with the third year being the children’s area,” he said. “We’re going to re-design the children’s area to enlarge it – they account for more than half our circulation. It’s an exciting time.”
Looking back, Kleiman is happy about his 11-plus years, and the library as a whole.
“I think the staff is proud to work here, and in 25 years, I think the library has made an impact in small ways,” he said. “I consider it a center for culture – that’s not a bad legacy. An average of 100 people per month come to get a new library card and 10,000 people per month utilize our programs. It’s the most-used facility in town.”
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