Library is important to community in age of Internet
May 22, 2014 | 3295 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mirror Photo / Mac Overton<br>
UPSHUR COUNTY LIBRARIAN Mark Warren tells Rotarians about the importance of a rural library to a community at their meeting May 13.
Mirror Photo / Mac Overton
UPSHUR COUNTY LIBRARIAN Mark Warren tells Rotarians about the importance of a rural library to a community at their meeting May 13.
Upshur County Librarian Dr. Mark Warren told the Gilmer Rotary Club at their meeting May 13 that the county library is “a window to a world of information.”

He told about services the library, located at 702 West Tyler St. (Hwy. 154 W.), provides for the community.

The mission of the Upshur County Library is to provide up-to-date materials and information to people of all ages for their education, recreation and life-long learning; emphasizing efficient, professional, and courteous service in welcoming surroundings, Warren said.

Services provided include:

• Internet, including Wi-Fi access.

• Computers with Microsoft office.

• A microfilm reader and printer, along with microfilm of The Gilmer Mirror from 1905 to date.

• Books for adults, children and teens.

• Preschool story times each Thursday morning and afternoon.

• A summer reading program that serves over 500 children.

•Access to TexShare databases.

• Best sellers.

• Large-print books.

• Magazines and newspapers.

• Interlibrary loan.

• Copier service ($.25 per B&W copy; $.75 color).

• Geneology collection and services.

• Online catalog with remote access.

• Ongoing Friends of the Library donations project.

• Recycling of used ink cartridges.

• Monthly displays of local interest.

• A die-cutting machine.

• IRS forms.

• Conference room.

They also have services for the visually impaired, including a computer with large screen monitor that can make print very large.

Warren listed the following ways to use your library:

• Reserve a best seller, without a long waiting list.

• Find recent statistics from the last census.

• Spruce up your house with the latest books on interior design.

• Learn how to make a deer-resistant garden.

• Find out where to send a consumer complaint.

• Get local demographic information for business.

• Find out more about your doctor.

• Check the financial standing of your bank.

• Ask for information on how to start a business.

• Learn how to become a U.S. citizen.

• “Trek to another planet in a science fiction novel.”

• Learn how to become a homeowner.

• Research the schools in your neighborhood and other cities.

• Find out what happened in the year you were born.

• Find out how your stock did today.

• Read the newspapers from Gilmer, Gladewater and Longview.

• Prepare for a job interview.

• Look for classes to learn English.

• Find out how to earn your GED.

• Borrow an audio book and listen as you drive.

• Read your great-grandfather’s obituary.

• Check out books in Spanish.

Warren provided the following statistics about the library’s use:

• Entrance—2011, 61,742; 2012, 62613; 2013, 63730.

• Attendance at programs—2011, 6,515; 2012, 5,309; 2013, 5,512.

• Reference questions—2011, 10158; 2012, 11,209; 2013, 11841.

• Check-outs—2012, 59,364; 2013, 61910.

• Computer usage—2012, 10512; 2013, 10734.

Warren described the value of the Summer Reading Program.

“Placing a dollar value on programs gives marketing and advocacy capital,” he said.

It helps to maintain reading skills, since the lost of skills is cumulative if not corrected.

“Research shows that publibrary summer reading progams are the most effective tools at preventing educational loss, more so than summer school programs,” Warren said. “It’s not baby-sitting.”

He gave “a look at value” of the local program, using information from the Center for Public Policy Priorities:

Instructional expenses per student in Texas for the 2012-2013 school year were $4,336.

$4,336 X .3333 (time students spent relearning basic skills=$1,445.

$1,445 X .3333 (“Three R’s factor”—reading constitutes only one of the three R’s)=$482.

$482 X 514 (number of 2013 Upshur County Library summer readers=$247,748.

$247,748, therefore, is the estimated dollar value retained during the 2013 summer break.

Warren added humor to his presentation.

“You might be a rural library if:

“Patrons call you at home to ask if you have a particular item in the collection and to save it for the next day.

“Parents of teens ask you to give their children a ride home.

“You have done storytime while simultaneously checking out books and answering a reference question over the phone.

“Your fingerprints are on every item in the library.

“Staff members know the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins of the kid checking out books.

“You know and call the owner of a dog that wanders into the library.”

“You get a phone call asking for the reference desk, acquisitions department, and overdue books and you say, ‘I can help with that.’

“Animal husbandry is the largest nonfiction section in your library.

“You can order free-range eggs at the circulation desk.

“You loan your personal books to supplement the library collection.

“You serve as chairman of the local annual festival planning committee and close down for a week during the festival down for a week during the festival.”

Warren said they have actually been asked the following questions:

• Do you have any books here?

• Can you tell me why so many famous Civil War battles were fought on National Park sites?

• Where in the library can I find a power socket for my hair dryer?

• I am seeking a directory of laws that I can break, so that I could be returned to jail for a couple of years.

He also asked, “Why didn’t the thief burgle the library? He was afraid the judge would give him a long sentence.

“What do you do if your pet starts eating your library book? Take the words right out of their mouth.”

Warren said these are the shortest books ever written:

• Career Opportunities for Liberal Arts Majors.

• Royal Family’s Guide to Good Marriages.

• Everything Men Know About Women.

You can access the library catalog at

Warren has a capable and friendly staff.

The email address is
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