By Sarah Ellen Rindsberg
The bastion of knowledge, commonly referred to as the library, in the Town of North Castle, is a beacon to one and all. As literary tastes change and technology develops, the library is constantly evolving. When tots need entertaining, young adults clamor for dystopian fiction and adults yearn to master a computer program, their needs are met at the library. To provide exemplary service to all residents in the Town of North Castle, there are two physical locations: the main one in Armonk and the second in North White Plains.
When Director Scott Jarzombek was in library school, the internet was entrenched in everyone’s lives and the demise of the very institutions he aspired to lead was predicted far and wide. He took the contrarian viewpoint and persevered, undeterred. Today he sits at the helm of an engaging place of learning. “It [the internet] made libraries that weren’t being used into vibrant centers [of] technology and technological instruction,” he observes.
Jarzombek points to a feature which renders libraries unique and appealing to all: “We’re the one educational institution in the community that’s open to the public, for all ages.” The vast array of programs offered is a testament to this philosophy. The following is a sampling of the classes and activities on the calendar in April: appointments with a NY State of Health Navigator–designed to examine options and demystify the Affordable Health Care Act, Bridge and Italian lessons, Defensive Driving classes, chair and family yoga.
The Children’s calendar is busy, too, with interactive programs that entertain and teach. One novel program, Play and Learn, helps parents “figure out their kids’ learning styles” says Jarzombek. Another class, Bounce the Baby, engages little ones through use of song, movement and story. The Miller family recently enjoyed a three-generation outing to just such a class led by part-time Children’s Librarian, L.J. Cox. Said Armonk native and grandmother Sandy Miller, “We started coming in September and have come every week since; Sofie (two years old) talks about L.J. all the time!”
Patron Kenneth Dinkel is a huge proponent of the library. He is on site every day, accompanied on a regular basis by his two children and his wife. “What the library is to the Dinkels is a home away from home, an extension of our home,” he says. His kids come after school to do their homework and take advantage of tutoring offered by teens. On Saturday mornings, he and his wife attend Tai Chi. They also enjoy the art history classes offered in the evening by Valerie Franco.
And yes, supplying reading material remains a top priority for the library. For nonfiction, Jarzombek is adamant that everyone should read “Command and Control” by Eric Schlosser. This tome describes the country’s nuclear arsenal. “A pretty relevant topic,” Jarzombek adds. In fiction, “The Goldfinch,” by Donna Tartt, is in high demand. For young adults, Jarzombek recommends the “Divergent” series by Veronica Roth, and for the younger set, “‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ still rules.Although many titles are available as e-books, Jarzombek finds that “digitally literate people often prefer to read a regular book.”
The Friends of the Library are extremely active. They fund all of the programs and are the driving force behind the ever popular theatrical group, known as The Armonk Players.
The latest additions to the library are a self-checkout unit and a section for new material. A co-working space, equipped with technological devices, is being created for use by the public. Future plans include changes to the children’s room and teen services.
Bibliophile Sarah Ellen Rindsberg devoured a copy of Donna Tartt’s latest oeuvre from the library.