Morris County Library Offers Innovative Pop-Up Libraries

John Duff and Katy White of Baker & Taylor, Assistant Morris County Library Director Darren O’Neill and Morris County Library Director Susan Calantone

MORRIS COUNTY — The Morris County Library is offering new Pop-Up Libraries that will offer folks in waiting rooms at four county government locations and at a homeless shelter for families a chance to access the library’s e-book collection on their smartphones or tablets.

Katy White of Baker & Taylor holds the small device that powers the Pop-Up Libraries, along with Marianne McCrone of the Morris County Family Justice Center

Visitors to the Morris County Jail, Juvenile Detention Center, Youth Shelter, Family Justice Center and the Homeless Solutions shelter will be the first in line to be able to access and download library e-books, even if they are not card-carrying County Library members.

With the support of the Morris County Board of Freeholders, the County Library has invested $13,000 in the small mobile devices that are being installed at these five locations, allowing for access to a portion of the County Library’s e-book collection.

Morris County is the first library system in the state to employ Pop-Up Libraries, using innovative technology provided Baker & Taylor publishing company, which is the product distributor.

“This is an interesting use of new technology that can benefit our residents and visitors to county government by allowing them to read while they wait,’’ said Freeholder Heather Darling, the county governing board’s liaison to the County Library. “I commend our library team for their efforts to bring this technology to our county.’’

“The modern library is no longer constrained by brick and mortar.  The idea of ‘bringing the books to the people’ – instead of the other way around – is the best way to foster a lifelong love of reading while emphasizing the social need for public library services,” said Morris County Assistant Library Director Darren O’Neill.

The Pop-Up Library system allows individuals to access e-books within direct proximity, or about 40-feet, of a small device (about the size of a deck of playing cards) that generates its own Wi-Fi signal. Once connected, smart phone users can visit a website, which serves as the catalog, and download the e-content.

Not to worry, once a user leaves one of the connected Pop-Up Library locations she or he can continue to read the book. The e-content can be saved in the user’s cache for access outside the perimeter of the Pop-Up Library device for a period of about two weeks

The Morris County Library, in partnering with Baker & Taylor, initially will make about 335 titles (in English and Spanish) available for sharing. The e-content periodically will be refreshed.

For security reasons, the Wi-Fi signal generated by the device can only access the website for the e-content. It cannot connect to sites such as Google or others. Also, these devices will not interfere with any of the other Wi-Fi connections supported by the Morris County Office of Information Technology.

In connection with this new initiative, the County Library has purchased ten easy to use Kindle Fires for on-site use at the five initial Pop-Up Library locations for persons without smartphones or tablets.