Looking to learn a new language? Interested in reading the newest version of Bon Appetit or Car and Driver magazine? Or maybe it’s time to spruce up that resume. Just grab your library card and visit the Ocean County Library’s new website which offers endless possibilities for information and learning experiences all at your fingertips.
“The Ocean County Library continues to be a key resource for information of all kinds for our residents and visitors,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as liaison to the 21 branches of the library. “This new website provides our library cardholders with an opportunity to access helpful resources along with books for leisurely reading.
“It’s easy to navigate and I know it will be very popular,” he said. “And the best news is the cost – the information is free.”
The library launched its new website on June 26 and has had almost 30,000 people visit it in less than a month for a total of 65,925 sessions.
“In that brief period our web pages were viewed 152,242 times,” said Library Director Susan Quinn, who gave a presentation on the new website to the Board of Freeholders at its preboard meeting July 12.
With extensive offerings for adults, teenagers and children, the new website and its many features was designed with the assistance of the library technology team, librarians, library users and some outside technical support.
“With the advancements in technology, it was time to update the library’s website,” Quinn said.
Vicari noted the new website is a virtual branch of the library where you can access information 24-hours a day, seven days a week from anywhere.
“It’s almost like having a 22nd branch that offers services to our residents,” he said.
During the Freeholder meeting presentation, Quinn highlighted a variety of features that can be accessed by library cardholders.
The Chat or Text Live feature allows library patrons to contact a librarian via a chat feature on the website. In a back and forth between Quinn and the librarian, questions about books, library offerings and topics including how to sign up for a library card were bantered back and forth.
Other features highlighted during the presentation included the enhanced digital access to music, eBooks, magazines and movies through a host of library electronic resources including Hoopla, Zinio and Tumblebooks for children.
There is also easy access to Lifelong Learning Resources which offers an opportunity to tap into 500 continuing education courses.
“The new website is highly interactive,” Vicari said. “And you can get all of this on your phone, your tablet or your personal computer. I encourage our residents to visit www.theoceancountylibrary.org to see for themselves all of the items they can access.”
And for those residents who enjoy visiting the 21 branches and reading rooms that make up the state’s largest public library system, the site also offers directions to the library branches provided through Google Maps which can be sent by text to a library customer’s cell phone.
“Ocean County library branches house 1.3 million books,” Vicari said. “We offer great reading selections, educational assistance and learning experiences and expanded opportunities at every branch.
“And now, we offer all of these databases on this new website,” he said. “This is the perfect blend of traditional and advanced innovation that can help take us into the future while providing a positive experience for everyone.”
Last year 636,545 people visited the website for a total of 1,368,553 sessions, viewing the web pages 4,067,311 times.
“This new website will attract even more people,” Vicari said. “It’s a great way for visitors and new residents to be introduced to our library system and it’s an excellent tool for those repeat patrons who enjoy our library branches.”
Quinn noted that while the new website provides many offerings to library card holders it was key to make the navigation easy and responsive to all users.
“We wanted to make certain the redesign connected with all of our communities,” Quinn said.