Thursday, August 26, 2010

Recipe for a Great School Year

The other morning, I was enjoying watching Chris (our cataloger) put up her new display in our foyer, and I thought it was worth sharing with our blog readers.

Recipe for a Great School Year:

     4 cups hard work
     1 cup creativity
     2 cups fun and friendship
     1 cup communication
     1 cup enthusiasm
     1 cup cooperation

     Combine all ingredients. Enjoy!

Chris's displays are always so creative and original, and this one is no exception. Colorful and appealing, it looks like a handwritten recipe card.

The only thing I can add is: stir in large amounts of reading material from your Library. We can help you with the hard work, providing sources for research papers. The fun and all the rest we can help with by providing a wide selection of leisure reading.

A successful school year is the result of the whole family's participation. The family that reads together, succeeds together! Stir it up!

We invite you to come in and see our new display and enjoy all the services your Library provides.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Are Libraries Really Neccessary?

If you pay any attention to the news, you know that state and local governments are suffering from serious budget problems. Many desperate politicians are drastically cutting funds for public libraries, causing cutbacks in hours and services. Some communities are losing their libraries altogether. Mississippi is no different. There was an article in many state newspapers this week discussing the cuts to state funding of libraries. Local governments are being asked to make up the difference, but most simply cannot afford it. All across the state and country, people are asking "Are libraries really necessary?"

After all, with the internet, do we really need books and libraries? First of all, not everyone has access to the internet, especially in poor, rural areas. Secondly, libraries are so much more than just books. Communities that cut their library budgets are only making matters worse. Libraries remain one of the best economic engines available and probably do more than any other government service to help people and communities survive hard times.

There is overwhelming data showing the value of libraries in a bad economy -  library usage increases significantly during these times. Why? Because libraries provide needed services. When budgets are tight, people frequently quit buying books and subscribing to newspapers and magazines. So they come to the library to read them for free. (We even offer coffee for only $1 while reading that magazine.) Instead of paying for movies, people check them out for free at the library. When people lose their jobs, they come to the library for help with resumes and job searches - or to start a new business.  Children can be entertained for free with books, storytime, and special children's computers. Free use of computers at libraries is very popular. Come into the library any time, and you'll see people using the computers.

There is no better place for research than a public library - which helps people with all manner of problems related to a poor economy. Learn how to do things yourself rather than hiring someone to do it for you. Find out how to avoid foreclosure or increase your credit score. Look for scholarships for school or training. Whatever you need to know, you can probably find the answer at your library.

So are libraries really necessary? You bet! Investing taxpayer money in a public library in a no brainer.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

We Feel Like We Won the Lottery

WOW! What a week! We found out that we have been awarded FIVE grants totaling $156,000. We are always applying for grants since we operate on a very tight budget, especially during these hard economic times. This week, we really lucked out.

HVAC Repairs - $136,000. If you use the Library, you know all the problems we have had with our antiquated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC). We knew there was federal stimulus money available for energy conservation, administered through the Mississippi Development Authority. The City of Natchez owns our building, but it could not apply for this particular grant because they had already applied (and received) one. Fortunately, Adams County agreed to apply for the grant on our behalf. We haven't even been officially notified yet, so we don’t know when the work will begin or how long it will take, but we will keep you updated. We are just thrilled to know we will soon be able to offer a comfortable environment to our patrons - not to mention our staff, computers, and books. (See the article in the Natchez Democrat.)

New Teen Room - $11,000. We are soon going to have the best Teen Room imaginable that may become the most popular place in town for local teenagers. Since more and more reference materials are becoming available online, we decided that we no longer need a room dedicated to reference materials. So that room will be transformed into the Teen Room, with new paint and cool furnishings. Books and other materials appropriate to teenagers will be shelved there, of course. There will also a TV that can be used to play WII games or watch movies, a computer, a craft area, and other enticements. For teens in our community, the Library will soon be equal to Fun! We hope for a grand opening in October.

Breaking News - $3,000  Right now the library subscribes to several print newspapers. Some popular out of town newspapers are either unavailable or arrive late. Most newspapers are also available online in a format that looks just like a regular newspaper. We are purchasing two special touch screen computers for the Dr Clifford Tillman Memorial Reading Room that will be for newspapers only. It may take some getting used to, but staff will be available to help and there are added benefits, such as accessing older issues and searching for certain topics. We will continue to subscribe to all print newspapers except the New York Times, which arrives a week late by mail and is costly. We will also be able to provide the Baton Rouge Advocate online, which was not available for delivery in our area.

New DVDs - $3,000  Video cassettes are outmoded now, so we have started ordering movies on DVD/Blue Ray. But it is expensive to build up a collection, and this grant will help us to get a jump start.

Time and Print Management Software - $3,000 We installed this software in the Armstrong Library, and it allows us to efficiently manage use and printing on our public computers. This grant will allow us to also provide this software to our branch libraries in Wilkinson County.

The last four grants are funded through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and administered by the Mississippi Library Commission.

More to Come  We are currently seeking proposals to complete the exterior repairs and painting our building so desperately needs. So soon your Library will look pretty again!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Back to School

Summer Library Perogram is over. We had fun with Andy the Ambulance, Shoney Bear, storytellers, and reading books - and more books.

Now it is time for school to begin. Students and teachers, do not forget your public library as your partner this school year.

Please contact us early so we can have materials ready and available.

Come join us for a successful school year and adventures with books at your public library.