Beyond the books

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What is objective of the Demopolis Public Library?

Our goal is to meet the information needs and encourage life-long learning for all of the residents of our service area, but we also serve people from other counties.

We now have six high-speed Internet computers and we offer wireless Internet access. We are about to launch a new Web page. We have a collection of 27,000 items, and that includes audio books on CD and cassette, DVDs and VHS.

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We also have a great large print collection and a wonderful Demopolis History collection that includes genealogy. We offer lots of programming for children, which includes story time for pre-schoolers. We will be having a big summer reading program again this year.

We offer beginning computer classes for adults, and we also have some adult programming, whish includes the Reading Rendezvous &045; a group discussion group that meets once a month. We have a couple of big adult programs that are coming up in a couple of months.

We have a great selection of newspapers and magazines. A lot of people come in every day to read the newspapers.

Other than that, we just try to foster literacy and learning in the community.

How does the library choose what to do with its budget and what not to do?

As far as the print and media collection, we have a collection development policy, but we try to get a good mix of popular titles and materials that will help with research. Having been here for a while it is easier to tell what the community wants and to meet those needs, although I do welcome people to tell me when they want something we do not have. If I know somebody wants something I will make sure to get it.

So that responsibility falls to you?

I do everything except audio and video.

What kind of programs does the library have planned for the near future?

Feb. 9 is our Black History Month Program, and we are glad to have James Perkins, the mayor of Selma, to come be our keynote speaker for that at 10 a.m.

On Feb. 18 the director of the Georgia State Museum is coming to Rooster Hall to talk about Alabama art, which is part of a grant through the Alabama Humanities Foundation with Auburn Center for the Book and the Arts Council here helping. That will be a visual program and ought to be excellent, because he is a very renowned art expert.

March 7 we will have Francis Rob, who is a scholar on Tallulah Bankhead, come and talk about she fits into the Hellman-Wyler Festival, which will be taking place at that time. It will be March the 7 at 10 a.m.

Two of those are partnerships. Do you try to hold joint programs with other institutions?

We try to partner whenever we can. We usually help the arts council host the local Artist Showcase, and we work with any group that seems appropriate. We work with the schools for a lot of things. I like partnerships.

How do you set up the programs that are not partnerships?

Connie Lawson pretty much does the adult programming. We talk about it, but she ultimately decides the kind of topics we are going to have. We try to take advantage of the Alabama Humanities Foundation because they offer a bureau of speakers and we are getting a mini grant for the program in March. If that grant comes through, along with the help of the Black Belt Communities Foundation that is giving us a grant for equipment, we will try to a quarterly film series at the Old School with old movies. The first of which would hopefully be a Tallulah film that has never been released commercially. Its from the archives of the Tallulah Bankhead Society and Mrs. Rob, who is coming in March, has agreed to help show it as part of her presentation &045;if we get the grant. We didn’t want to show it during the Hellman-Wyler Festival because it would just get lost, so we decided to do it as a follow up and a kick off of this quarterly film series.

The Friends of the Library are a great group and a lot of people have memberships to the friends. They co-sponsor our reading group, so we do almost everything as a partnership.

For the summer reading program I work with Ashley Pearson, who is our new children’s librarian, and we plan that. We usually have kindergarten through sixth grade, with activities throughout the week.