Libraries still relevant in digital age

Published 8:57 am Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Our library, like public libraries across the country, is finding new ways to stay relevant in a digital world. We are no longer the only source of reliable information and books. We are competing with companies like Amazon and Google. We are also competing with TV, Netflix, sports, and the great outdoors for our library users’ time and attention.

Morgan Allen is librarian at the Demopolis Public Library. She may be reached by email at

In order to stay relevant, we try to offer programs and services that are unique and only found at the library. We want using the library to be as easy and convenient as possible. You can now renew your items online through our website You can also request that we order items for our library and reserve items online. If you need a certain title, you can reserve the item and we will have it waiting for you at the circulation desk if it is available. If the item is checked out, we can contact you when it is available. Reserving items online is perfect for users that have busy schedules and may only have time during their lunch break to pick up items. We can also send you text message alerts and emails when your items are due back or if you have a reserved item that is ready to be picked up.

We offer free tax preparation through AARP during tax season, art classes, financial literacy classes, story times for children, adult bingo, a “Lunch & Learn” program, individual computer help with our “Tech Tuesday” program, and we are constantly trying to add more programs. We have an ongoing used book sale that offers paperback books for $.25 and hardback books for $.50. We also offer free DVD rentals. You can check out up to 5 DVD’s for 3 day and 7 day checkouts with your library card, so skip Redbox and visit our library. We try to add new releases monthly and we love adding movies that are based on books.

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We now offer a LED projector and screen for the public to checkout. A library card and a $25 rental fee are required to check out the projector for a 3 day checkout period. The projector is perfect for business and social events at the Demopolis Civic Center and Rooster Hall. We offer a meeting room space that holds up to 30 people and a conference room that holds up to 8 people that the public can use by request.

We offer a free subscription to that is available to use in the library. You can find old newspapers in our local history and genealogy collection on the 2nd floor. Our librarians can even help guide you in your search for genealogy resources and information on Demopolis History. We have people from all over the country that visit our collection. Last month we had a couple from Philadelphia visit for information on Lillian Hellman, the famous playwright from Demopolis.

The library has also added a community calendar to our website and it is linked to the City of Demopolis’s website. We add library and community events to this online calendar each week. You can email us your event to add at We also have an email newsletter that we send out at least two times a month with information on programs, services, and new materials. The library is here to help you stay connected to your community.

You are probably thinking, “Wow, our library is amazing! I would love to get involved and support it!” There are several simple ways you can become involved besides checking out books. You can become a Friend of the Demopolis Public Library and offer financial support through yearly dues. You can donate gently used books to the library and we either catalogue and add them to our collection or add them to our used book sale. We can even give you a tax credit form for a deduction  on your taxes. You can also make a monetary contribution in honor of or in memory of a friend or relative. We can purchase a book with the contribution, add a bookplate with the person’s name in the book, and send the person or family an acknowledgement card. This is a great gift for the person in your life that already has everything! Recently, we had a library patron do this as a way to say “thank you” to several of her friends. It’s a really unique way of letting someone know you are thinking of them while supporting literacy. Please contact us at 334.289.1595 or email us at if you have questions or suggestions on ways we can improve our library service.

— Morgan Allen is librarian at the Demopolis Public Library. She may be reached by email at  m