HARTINGTON — Cedar County is helping local libraries meet their bills.
Hartington and Randolph Libraries will each receive $5,000 and the Laurel Library will have funds in the amount of $2,500.
This will be the second year in a row for the three libraries to benefit from $12,500 in county funding.
Board members had reinstated funding for the libraries in 2011 after denying funding to the libraries for the past 15 or more years.
Joan Brodersen, President of the Hartington Library Board; Tami Anderson, Director, Hartington Library; Peggy Leiting, Director of Randolph Lied Public Library; and Lisa Karnes, member of the Board of Trustees for the Laurel Library, stopped at the July 24 Cedar County Commission meeting to say “thank you” for the financial support.
During the last few years technology has changed the services libraries can now offer their patrons.
The younger generation along with those who are a little older are now using Nooks, Kindles and iPads in place of the familiar paper bound books.
All three libraries pay an annual fee for Nebraska OverDrive, a service that makes it possible for patrons with a library card to check out and download digital audio and eBooks anytime – anywhere.
An eBook is a text based, digital version of a book that can be read on a home computer, Smartphone and other hand-held devices.
A digital audio book is a spoken-word digital audio file that can be enjoyed on hundreds of devices and can be burned to a CD and listened to in your car or on any standard CD player.
The Nebraska OverDrive is a shared collection for 100 Nebraska Libraries, according to Hartington Library Director Tami Anderson.
Last year the Hartington Public Library used $1,000 from the 2011 funds received from the County to purchase an add-on package for the digital audio and eBook service through Nebraska OverDrive.
“This upcoming year, we are looking into upgrading our cataloging and circulation automation software to incorporate digital eBooks,” Anderson said.
Patrons at the Hartington Library have the availability of 10 desktop computers, along with six laptops with high speed internet access.
WiFi services are available in the main library and the public meeting room.
The library also offers one-on-one computer sessions designed to help patrons with specific computer questions or a brief introduction to using computers, the internet, email and Microsoft Office software.
Peggy Leiting, Director at Randolph Library, thanked the Commissioners for the support the libraries have received from the county.
“This is a huge plus for the library. With all our expenses going up, these funds still allowed us to add more books,” Leiting said. “We have seen a ten percent increase in the circulation of materials at our library. The books and materials that we were able to add to the library made a difference.”
Nebraska Overdrive, a digital audio and e-book service, is also available to patrons at the Randolph Library.
Free digital downloads are available online from the Library if you have a library card according to Leiting.
“All ages are using it – it isn’t just the younger generation. We have a lot of middle age and retired people who use it,” Leiting said.
Twenty computers, which includes nine laptops, with hi-speed internet are available at the Randolph Library.
Computer software classes, with college credits, are offered at the Randolph Library.
Some of the 2011 funds helped pay for the Nebraska Overdrive system at the Library in Laurel according to Board of Trustee member Lisa Karnes.
Funds were also used to make purchases for the children’s area at the Laurel Library and for items used in the Summer Reading Program.
Magazine subscriptions that patrons were interested in were ordered according to Karnes.
A portion of the 2012 funds will again be used for the annual membership fee for the Nebraska Overdrive system.
Additional books, along with some new shelves, will be added to the Library’s collection.
Computers have become an important asset for libraries.
“More people than ever are using the computers in the library,” Karnes said.
The Laurel Library is located in the Learning Center at the Laurel-Concord School and is operated through an inter-local agreement between the city and the school.
The facility is both a school library and a public library, according to Karnes.
Maggie Huetig is the Librarian.
Commissioner Terry Pinkelman thanked the representatives from the libraries for coming to the meeting.
“Come back again,” Pinkelman said. “We like to know where the money is being spent and what is needed. Thank you for telling us.”