vanhemmencrawford1Maritime historian Rik van Hemmen and singer/ songwriter Jim Crawford are among the visitors to the Red Bank Public Library in coming days, as the borough bibliotecque celebrates National Library Week.

They’ve continued to make the printed word seem so sexy, long into the age of more pixelated pursuits.

They’ve embraced DVD collections, coffee bars, internet stations, graphic novels, open mics, Wii tournaments, even downloadable reading materials — all of those things, in other words, that we were all so sure were going to spell their demise.

They’re all too often the best things about their respective towns — and from now through April 16, they’ve got a rack of days all their own, as National Library Week gets observed in special places all over this land.

On the banks of the Navesink, that special place is the Red Bank Public Library — the richly pedigreed (and recently renovated) riverside landmark that’s one of the standout public spaces in a town that does public spaces particularly well. The folks at the historic Eisner house on West Front Street have lined up a slate of events and incentives that began yesterday with free Manhattan Bagels — and continues through Saturday with still more goodies, including candy-kitchen creations by Red Bank Chocolate Shoppe.
Anyone visiting the RBPL during National Library Week will be entered into a raffle drawing to win one of several gift baskets featuring theatre and movie tickets donated by Two River Theater Company, Count Basie Theatre, AMC Theatres, and Clearview Cinemas, as well as gift certificates to local restaurants, hair salons, and more.

A separate raffle — this one for a brand new Barnes & Noble NOOK ereader — will be conducted by the Friends of the Red Bank Public Library, with tickets ($5 each) sold at the circulation desk. All proceeds go to support the library’s ongoing programs for adults and kids.

While it’s not officially part of the official Library Week offerings, the RBPL will play host venue on Thursday night for a special presentation by Fair Haven resident Rik van Hemmen, expert on all things maritime and author of the new book A Chronology of Boating on the Navesink River. The Netherlands native — profiled by redbankgreen‘s Dustin Racioppi in a comprehensive feature that appeared here in January — details “the evolution of boating on the Navesink River from the dugout canoe of 10,000 years ago to watercraft of the present day.” Signing copies of van Hemmen’s book ($35) will be available at the 7p event; take it here for more info.

As a special capper to the week on Saturday, April 16, Red Bank’s own Jim Crawford presents a live music performance beginning at 2p, with the borough-based guitarist, singer and songwriter (a recent nominee at the Jersey Acoustic Music Awards show in Asbury Park) bringing his patented blend of Americana, folk, and country styles to a showcase set of originals. Complimentary treats will be furnished for library visitors by Readies Fine Foods — while downstairs, the children’s department will be offering temporary tattoos to the kids all day.