During the summer we get so wrapped up in our summer reading programs, that many adults feel the library is somewhat over-run with our younger set. For the most part, our programming has so many tiers that there is something for everyone, and we are proud of the diversity of our programming.
But as proud as we have been of our summer programs, we have some things we do year round that make me equally proud. From the after school programs, robotics and preschool programs, in addition to programs on the early dismissal days, our library serves the children of our community 12 months of the year. Sometimes it feels that we are spending more time planning programs and activities than working on our collection of books and materials, but that too is a year-round function. But we remind you that there is a lot at the library for our adults also!
The Bertha Bartlett Public Library has one of the largest collections of books for the size of the community in Iowa, if not throughout the United States. And it is used heavily, with equally high check-outs for a population of 3,400 people. But our collection is constantly moving, with books rotating to our branch in Gilbert, circulating at Cedar Place or Bethany Life, or used by book club groups and fulfilling requests through Interlibrary loan.
One of the services we provide is a satellite “bookshelf” for the residents of Cedar Place, and volunteers at Bethany Life, with the guidance of Patricia Sawyer, visit residents at Bethany Life, bringing them selections to their rooms. We have an extensive Large Print Collection, and it is a treasure to those whose eyesight is changing as they age. Residents can make requests for types of books that they would enjoy.
I have gotten a closer look at that program, as I recently moved my mother into Bethany Life, and I’m making frequent trips visiting her and my aunt, who is also there. I see the books in the hands of residents as they move through the facility, finding a quiet spot to read in the little study rooms throughout the building. There is a constant need for books in ever-changing topics which reflect that community’s changing population.
This library service is such a lifeline for those who need extra help, and unable to travel to the library. There are a lot of things my mother can no longer do….but reading is still very important to her. She keeps a book or magazine near at all times. She is not alone, but as people move in and out of the facilities, families are not always aware that there are library books in the room. We try to keep up with the movements, but sometimes library materials end up in a box and moved into a back corner in someones’ house until they have time to unpack it. Those books, when found, are always welcomed back to our collection.
We also have two book clubs, one held at the Timberland Village on the 1st Thursday of each month, with Angie Stover leading the group and selecting the books they read. This group meets at 2 p.m. and usually has about 10 people attending. This bookclub began just a bit over a year ago, and has remained a popular event. On the 4th Tuesday of each month, the Bartlett Book Club meets at 2 p.m. at the library. This group has been meeting since 1986, over 30 years, and it also averages about 8 to 10 attendees. This month the Timberland Book Club is reading “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, while the Bartlett Book Club is reading “The Case of Abraham Lincoln bu Julie M. Fenster.
The library foundation, which supports both summer library programs and building needs, also has announced a book sale….a box of books for $5! This will continue through the end of August. We had taken so many donations into the library and upgraded our collections, dp we no longer had room for any more books. A moratorium had been placed on accepting bulk donations to the library. So for a great deal, there are hundreds and books still for sale with the box sale inside the library.