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Library Works to Respond to Community Needs

A recent article in a national library journal explained how today’s libraries must define their value beyond “The place where the public accesses reliable information.”

People have become skilled at mining reliable information, wrote Alison Circle of Ohio’s Columbus Metropolitan Library. “The library has to be about something more – something tied to community goals.” She added, “Figuring this out isn’t easy.”

On both points, we couldn’t agree more. Many of our programs began as an effort to respond to community goals: The Edge Community Technology Center, with its free computer skills courses, helps build a skilled workforce. Our signature Racing to Read early literacy program helps preschoolers prepare to learn to read and be ready for kindergarten. Summer and after-school programs for teens give them a say in what their libraries offer for them, and give them constructive and challenging activities – or just a quiet place to do homework.

One of our newer programs helping the community stay current with technology is the monthly series of free e-reader trainings for adults. These sessions remain popular in light of the spike in tablet computers and e-readers ownership. The next training is at 1 p.m. Friday, June 8, at the Library Center.

But we know there are many crucial issues facing the community today. The Library strives to learn what those issues are and, as the journal writer suggests, to position itself to be the “unmistakable answer to the problem.”

You can help us. We welcome your ideas on how you think the Library can respond to issues facing our community today.
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The number is staggering: In the past year the Library has borrowed 1,700 to 2,000 books each month from Missouri academic libraries for patrons through the MOBIUS program. That number increases each year. And if you’re one of those MOBIUS customers, please be patient with recent slowed deliveries.

Special loan items, especially MOBIUS items, slow down after a holiday. MOBIUS academic libraries are also between semesters, and most were closed over the Memorial Day holiday, says Rhonda Brown, with Interlibrary Loan/MOBIUS Services at the Library. In addition, special loan items are not processed or delivered on the weekends.

If you’re looking for a hard-to-find or obscure book, visit coolcat.org and click Interlibrary Loan, or try http://searchmobius.org.

Kathleen O’Dell is community relations director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She can be reached at kathleeno@thelibrary.org.

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