In Feb. 12 IssueBy Derek AaronNews-Register Editor
The Russell County Public Library on N. Main St in Jamestown is continuing to grow and expand to benefit its users, according to Norma Pellerin, the director of the facility.
In the year and a half since Pellerin took over as director she has been in charge of the implementation of several new features, including doubling the size of the children's room downstairs and raising the number of computers in the branch and main libraries to 20.
"It is another tool for entertainment for people, absolutely," Pellerin said of the computers. "Especially with all the school closings we've had a lot of activity."
She said she was surprised at how many people utilize the library during snow days.
"You'd expect people to stay at home but they're really looking for a place to go and spend their time," she said.
When it comes to books, Pellerin doesn't have a running total of books at both library locations but says that in her time here she has spent a large amount of their budget purchasing new books for the libraries.
"There was a good-sized weeding done before I came so now we're trying build them back up and that is good because we've got a lot of new material," she said.
Pellerin said the library replaces the classic books and novels with newer versions that are crisper and not as weathered.
"We borrow audio books from the state library for folks who want to listen to the CDs in their cars," she said. "They have become very popular and we've had to order two sets of them from the state to meet people's needs."
She said the library has also began their "lease books" program which allows them to receive several copies of the best sellers which can be leased by customers and ultimately bought by the library at a discounted price.
Pellerin said that while many people feared that reading books would become a lost art, young adult and teen novels, such as the "Twilight" series captures young readers' imaginations and brings books into their lives.
"We have a lot of vampire readers," Pellerin said with a laugh. "Readers are readers, we'll take it."
"It is interesting to me that people still come in and ask how much it is to rent a DVD or video," she said. "They still don't understand that the library is free and they're thrilled to death when they find out."
Pellerin also said the library has 30 subscriptions to popular magazines that can be looked at, with older copies available for check-out as well.
"We have a lot of books and magazines donated to us," she said. Those magazines can be taken by folks for free with the paperbacks usually sold for 10 cents. "People are really good about giving us donations … they read them once and then they bring them in to us and it saves us a lot of money," she said
In targeting younger readers, Pellerin said the library offers three "story hours," two at the Russell Springs branch on Main St. and one at the main branch in Jamestown.
She commended children's librarian Fillamay Cowell for her work in producing the high quality story hours, at no charge, each week.
Jamestown's story hour takes place on Monday from 3:30-4:30 while Russell Springs story hours are from 6 p.m.-7 p.m. on Tuesdays and 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. on Wednesdays. She said the coming weeks' story hours will be Valentine's Day themed.
"Fill also goes out to all the head starts, daycares and schools," she said. "She has a lot of energy and loves her job."
A book sale also begins on Monday at the library, Pellerin said. She said the books will be sorted out into categories and everyone is welcome to come in and check out the books, with paperbacks being sold for 20 cents, hardbacks for 50 cents and some high quality hardbacks and paperbacks for $2 apiece.
"We have just purchased an early literacy computer," she said. "We're going to see about doing some programs for the daycares and head starts with it."
The computer will help children, ages 2-5, with counting and the alphabet learning, she said, before they even enter school as a kindergartner.
"We have, in the year and a half I've been here, set up and organized a really good genealogy collection," she said. "With the help of the genealogy society here in Russell County, we provide ancestry.com and heritagequest.com with information."
She said many people come in from out of town to utilize the library's genealogy collection, including birth and death records and microfilm.
The library is also set to offer basic computer classes to folks who just want to learn how they work. Another program set to begin soon, which is funded through a grant, will allow the library to receive laptop computers to teach folks how to job search and build resumes online and even apply for unemployment.
The library contains fiction, non-fiction, young adult, large print, biography, magazines, lease books, inspirational fiction, romance, westerns as well as the uncarded fiction, which do not have a due date. The due date for all other books is three weeks, along with audio books, while videos and DVDs are due in one week.
The library has also added a wireless café in the basement for folks to come in and use their laptops to get some work done. Pellerin said the library also has received an iPad in an effort to show folks how they work if they choose to go that route.
The library also offers faxing, photocopying and scanning for people as well for a small fee. Two on staff at the library are also notaries.
The Russell County Main Library can be reached at 270-343-3545 while the Russell Springs branch can be reached by calling 270-866-5200. They can also be followed on Facebook, just 'like' Russell County Public Library to stay informed on the latest.
The main branch is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. The Russell Springs branch is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.