Consistently voted the best, or one of the best, libraries in Middlesex County, the Old Bridge Public Library serves as a community center for residents. The library provides access to books, other materials and information through in-person and online access. It has transformed itself into a proactive center for learning, recreation and study 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Over 300,000 people per year visit the library, with thousands more using its online resources remotely. The library offers access to tens of thousands of items from books, e-books and DVDs to pre-loaded learning tablets, mobile hot spots, free museum passes and digital magazines. Over 26,000 people per year attend the hundreds of programs and events the library sponsors, which appeal to everyone from toddlers to teens to seniors.
The library provides the community with computer access, onsite and remote printing, mobile hot spot loans, computer classes and individualized technology assistance. Its services play a key role in closing the digital divide with free Wi-Fi, and in-person and online live homework help. Access to online learning courses is available for life-long learning. Our flagship resources include Tutor.com, Universal Class and Lynda.com.
The Outreach Van provides early literacy opportunities to preschool children, as well as reading materials to senior facilities, OBPS and other venues. The Outreach Van also stocks the Little Free Libraries the library has set up at the Inverness and Westminster commuter parking lots and the library’s branch in the Laurence Harbor section of Old Bridge. The library’s Books By Mail Program offers books to qualified residents not able to visit in person.
In addition to the thousands of books, audio books, magazines, DVDs and TV series in its collections, patrons can download and stream films, songs, comic books, e-books and audio books through library services such as Hoopla, Kanopy, Zinio, eLibraryNJ and Tumble Book Library. Language learning, including English, is a snap with online services such as Muzzy Online, Rosetta Stone and Pronunciator. The library has a large collection of foreign language books and discs to help patrons learn and practice another language, including English.
The library’s robust English as a Second Language literacy classes offered in the spring and fall help those new to the United States acclimate to American society. They can practice English through the online resource, Pronunciator. Other ESL resources include books and DVDs.
The library is also an official, U.S. State Department-designated passport acceptance facility. Its friendly, expert passport acceptance agents accept thousands of U.S. passport applications per year for people of all ages in the Tri-state area. Passport pictures can also be taken at the library. Customers are served on a first-come, first-served basis.
The library’s Idea Farm, one of the first “makerspaces” in New Jersey, serves the community as a multi-faceted enterprise enabling the making, learning, exploring and sharing of high-tech and low-tech tools. Idea Farm workshop includes a Makerbot 3-D printer, a Roland vinyl cutter, soldering irons, Makey Makey kits, Arduino microcontrollers and many other components for use by people of all ages and interests.
The Idea Farm includes a gardening component where members of the community can learn gardening and composting skills. Sewing classes are also part of the Idea Farm, and hundreds of people in the community have taken these classes from beginners to advanced sewers. The library is helping to prepare the community to acquire critical 21st century skills in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
Job seekers can depend on the library’s job search resources and programs. Its online Career Center offers excellent resources such as Job & Career Accelerator and award-winning Ferguson’s Career Guidance. The Career Center provides links to job postings and to resources, such as tips on resumes and interviewing skills. Programs for job seekers are regularly offered at the library by various organizations. SCORE, a volunteer group of business executives, meets at the library once per month to mentor small business owners and those seeking to start a small business.
The Old Bridge Public Library provides excellent programs and special events such as its Summer Reading Program, Comic Con, NJ Makers Day, Second Saturday concert series, Take Your Child to the Library Day and the Winter Carnival. Check the website at www.oldbridgelibrary.org to keep abreast of library happenings and access itselectronic resources. Call (732) 721-5600, ext. 5010 for more information. The library is open seven days per week to serve the residents of Old Bridge.