Rural Missouri - June 2019 - 20
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BORROW THE STARS
by Jim McCarty | firstname.lastname@example.org
emember those musty, dusty libraries from your childhood,
when Mom and Dad would drop you off while they did the
shopping? Finding a book in those days meant a painful search
through a card catalog and then an adventure in the stacks,
only to ﬁnd the book had been checked out.
Of course your time at the library was spent in silence, hoping not to
incur the librarian's harsh "Shhhhhh!"
That was then. Now libraries are boisterous community gathering
spaces where you might go to check out a ﬁshing pole and your books
are downloaded and read to you through your phone.
"Everyone said the internet was going to kill libraries," says Jami
Livingston, director for the Adair County Public Library in Kirksville.
"Maybe librarians took offense at that and said 'No, we are not going
Today's library is a perfect union of technology and old-school print.
Most libraries offer multiple services such as Hoopla or Overdrive that
let patrons download e-books or stream movies and music. You can
check out a book to read and then the movie to watch on DVD.
Whether it's providing a 3-D printer for inventors like the St. Joseph
Library does, a complete video studio available to Springﬁeld-Greene
County Library District patrons, puzzles and ukuleles from the Henry
County Library or the Missouri River Regional Library's mobile hotspot
loans, today's libraries are meeting the needs of all generations. That
includes taking the library to the public through bookmobiles, books
mailed to the homebound and even on bikes as the Daniel Boone
Regional Library does with its Bookbike.
If you need another reason to visit your library, nearly everything it
offers is free.
"Libraries love to lend their items," says Megan Maurer, assistant
director of the three-county Scenic Regional Library system. "That's
what we are here for. We are always thinking, trying to come up with the
next big thing and attracting people to use the library in different ways."
Here are a few examples of how Missouri libraries go beyond books:
One of the more unusual offerings for a Missouri library is the telescopes on
loan through Scenic Regional Library, with branches in Owensville, Hermann,
Warrenton, Wright City, New Haven, Paciﬁc, St. Clair, Sullivan and Union.
The library system has at least one telescope to lend at each of its locations.
The scopes are entry-level 4.5-inch Orion Starblast telescopes. Like everything
at the library, they are free to check out and can be kept for seven days.
"If you are really into observing the stars and the planets you may be wanting to go to the next level on telescopes," says Megan. "But this is a great scope
for people to use here in Missouri and kind of dabble their feet into astronomy."
She says the telescopes and other nontraditional items are often gateways
that lead patrons to the library's books. "They may come in for the telescope
because they heard about it through their Boy Scout, Girl Scout troop or their
4-H club or something like that. And then they realize, you know what, there
was a book that I wanted to check out. So it is a different way to get people into
the library and to keep us relevant in the community."
She adds that the summer reading program this year is all about space, with
the telescopes prominently featured.
The library has a special partnership with the Eastern Missouri Dark Sky
Observers, an organization devoted to increasing interest in astronomy. The
group does maintenance on the libraries' telescopes. This summer it will team
up with Scenic Regional branches for star parties. They will give demonstrations on what to see in the night sky, telescope safety and how to use a telescope. Weather permitting, there will be viewing once it is dark.
Telescopes are offered at all Scenic Regional Library branches.
Asssistant Director Megan Maurer says the telescopes let budding
astronomers get started for free.
Rural Missouri - June 2019
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - June 2019
Rural Missouri - June 2019 - Intro
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