Monday, April 30, 2012
Going Home, Going Home
By Jan Pease
As we walked in the door, the smell of old oak and books was the same that I remembered, even though the building has been modernized. The children’s department has been moved to the basement, and there is an elevator which was installed in the early 1980s, long after my time. Linda, the staff person who spoke to me, was kind and friendly. She mentioned that they had recently gone onto a new automated system and are now doing more interlibrary loans. I was a little surprised to see that they have no regular story times for young children. They do outreach to preschools in the community and schedule several special story times through the year. The total circulation in 2010 was 35,483. I would expect that number to become higher as the new addition brings in more patrons and interlibrary loans increase.
The first part of our trip was a stay in Arkansas for a family wedding in Siloam Springs, Benton County, Arkansas. As of 2011, Siloam Springs's population is 15,039. Since 2000, it has had a population growth of 35.44 percent. My husband indulged me with a visit to the public library, an interesting experience for both of us. The friendly staff, Trish and Ivy, welcomed me and did their best to answer my somewhat random questions. Like the new head librarian, and many of the people we met, they had moved to the area from “somewhere else.”
For comparison, in Litchfield, our population is 6,125, down 6.66% since 2000. Library users from outside of the city limits receive their first library card free of charge. Users may check out only six dvds per card, but the number of books, magazines and audio books is practically unlimited. Our library circulation in 2010 was 102,118. We provide three story hour opportunities, each week, plus monthly afterschool activities for children grades K through Middle School. It was really interesting to visit two completely different libraries, but I love our library here in Litchfield. Ya’ll stop in soon!