Local library offers more than just books

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Even though the amount of books checked out from the Demopolis Public Library suffered last year due to various reasons, director Lindsy Gardner and staff have expanded their inventory in other ways.

“We’ve increased our numbers in just about every area, except circulation,” Gardner said about the 1,545 overall decrease in checkouts, “That could be because we were renovating the second floor and we were closed more days because of the hurricanes.”

But the staff hopes the newly renovated second floor of the library will bring a “little boost” in numbers.

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It has transformed into the children’s area with special child-friendly furniture, paintings, signs, audio books, and six new computers loaded with educational software.

“We’ve already seen a small increase in the number of families joining because of the new area,” Gardner said, “but we will definitely see once the summer reading program takes off. I’m real excited about the new area.”

This year’s theme for the program is “Once Upon a Time,” and Gardner said children’s librarian Connie McPherson has big plans for program participants.

“Connie Mac is working hard on this and she has some really cool things planned,” Gardner said. “Of course we will have the animals again, but we will have some new things as well.”

Although the library already provides an array of services ranging from adult and children’s programming, computer classes, and genealogy services to test proctoring, local history and a book club sponsored by Friends of the Library, Gardner and her co-workers are striving to add more to the list.

“We are getting a veterans program together and we will offer e-mail, Internet and genealogy classes in the spring,” Gardner said. “We also offer a very basic computer skills class that you can’t get anywhere else. It covers all the basic things from using the mouse to cutting and pasting.”

The classes are $5 per hour, but are great for those who want to increase their computer skills, Gardner said.

The staff is also planning a “Food for Fines” drive in April where cardholders will have the opportunity to take 10 cents off their late fines, if they bring in a canned good.

And just because the staff has finally completed the second floor, doesn’t mean they are finished with alterations and improvements.

“Ever since we began renovating the second floor it’s been the plan to make the back room (on the first floor) into a meeting room with a coffee, or espresso, maker and comfy couches so it could be a place for adults to read when we aren’t using it for meetings,” she said.

“And we want to digitize our genealogy information, local history and the things we have the copyright to, in order to make them accessible across the country.”

Gardner said she also hopes to make the library’s index available digitally so people could see what the library has in stock.

“We want to do things to improve our Web presence,” she said. “We want our page to look better and offer as much additional information as it can.”

With books, Internet access, a new children’s area and much more to come, the Demopolis Public Library is a great place for the entire family.

“We try to offer people what they need in terms of computers and information. The staff always has fresh ideas,” Gardner said, “That’s what keeps them coming through our doors.”