Basics

216 N Marshall Ave
Litchfield MN 55355

(320)693-2483

HOURS
Monday - Thursday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Closed Sunday

Monday, April 30, 2012

Going Home, Going Home


 By Jan Pease
You can go home again. Recently, I was privileged to visit the library in Clarion, Iowa that was my first real job. I shelved books, straightened shelves, filed catalog cards, and one memorable, snowy winter, worked the front desk at the Morgan Everts Public Library. The grand old building is in great shape, and an expansion project has doubled its original size and updated it in many ways. The new addition is about 2 ½ years old, matches the brick outside very well, and is a wonderful improvement. Nola Waddingham succeeded the librarian I worked for, Marian Gannon, in 1996, and continues to be head librarian today. Clarion is a town of 2,671 people, located in Wright County, some of the best farming country you’ll ever see.

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.”

The library is an independent city library, and the staff are city employees. The library is completely supported by city tax dollars, and a fee is charged to users who live outside the city limits. I found it interesting that users are limited to six books checked out per card, or six books per person on a family card. The library offers preschool and afterschool programs every week, plus a matinee movie at 4:00 every Tuesday. The library was closed two days for Easter, and they close for the annual Dogwood Festival. Interlibrary loan service is available, according to Ivy and Trish, but I couldn’t find any information about it on their website. I also couldn’t find a total circulation figure, and Ivy and Trish weren’t sure about that.

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!