Library bustling with patrons

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Staff quickly went through more than 1,000 library cards

By Calen McKinney

The response has been overwhelmingly positive.

The new Taylor County Public Library hasn't been open a month yet, but patrons are flocking there in groves.

"The public response has been wonderful," Director Julia Turpin told library board members on Monday during their regular meeting.

"I think everyone has been sort of overwhelmed by how wonderful it is."

Bonnie Webster, outreach librarian, agreed. She said a patron recently told her, "It's about time Taylor County had something nice."

And even though the library was closed for half of March, Turpin says she is pleased with last month's circulation numbers.

Because the library was closed for half of last month, March's numbers were down when compared to figures for the same month last year. Nevertheless, Turpin said, employees have been busy and lots of patrons have been checking out books.

The library opened quietly on March 18, Turpin said, with an official opening two days later.

"It felt very, very busy, from what I understand," Turpin said.

She said library staff members are experimenting with work responsibilities to ensure they are designated in the most efficient way. And an employee has been hired to shelve books, she said.

Turpin said residents have responded well to having actual library cards. She had ordered 1,000 of them, thinking they would last through the month of March. But staff members ran out of the cards in a week and a half.

There were 188 new patrons registered during that time, Turpin said, and 1,300 current patrons made adjustments to their accounts.

"So that's a really big two weeks," she said.

More cards are on order, Turpin said, and patrons are patiently waiting for them to arrive.

Turpin said the library is also out of its logo coffee mugs and nearly out of the ink pens ordered with the library's logo on them.

She also said the library's story hour and other events have been well attended since the library opened and several groups have asked to use the community meeting room.

Those who want to use the meeting room will receive a pin number to allow the group access to the building when the library is closed. Pin numbers are changed after every meeting, Turpin said, and there are cameras inside the room.

When preparing to move, Turpin said, staff members weeded through the library's collection to take the books in poor shape out of circulation.

To replace those books, she said, more than 400 titles were purchased last month. Turpin said she believes between 400 and 600 will be purchased each month until the collection is in good shape.

Board member Michele Dickens asked if the library will be purchasing more e-books for patrons to read.

Patrons can request a specific e-book, Turpin said, and the library can have it in about 30 minutes. The library will also purchase popular titles in e-book format.

Building Update

Board Vice President Eddie Hazelwood said the opening of the library went well, though there have been a few issues.

There were a few leaks in the roof, he said, but they have since been fixed. The roof wasn't replaced during the renovation of the Gabehart Lumber building.

Pieter De Grez, vice president of Blevins Construction Co., the company in charge of transforming the former lumber company building into the library, said the roof could need to be replaced at some point.

Hazelwood said there was also an issue with the sewer line and part of it could have to be replaced at some point.

He said the library's new sign is in place by Broadway. The sign is illuminated and the posts have been repainted.

De Grez said some cleanup work remains to be done and workers haven't installed the library's new book drop.

He said the library will also be given hard and electronic copies of the manuals for the equipment in their new building. De Grez said he believes his company's work with the library will be complete by next month.

Board President John Miller thanked De Grez for his work and praised Blevins Construction Co.

"We were glad to be involved, especially here locally," De Grez said.

Also at the Meeting:

• Turpin said the library is looking for a local business to partner with for a free lunch program this summer.

Campbellsville schools typically offers free lunches in the summer to those younger than 18, Turpin said, but can't this year. Campbellsville officials will be in the midst of their school reconfiguration project this summer.

As such, Turpin said, the library has agreed to be a distribution center for the program. The library has applied for a grant to help pay for food, training and pay for a part-time staff member's salary.

However, she said, the library must partner with a business that has a certified kitchen to cook the lunches.

Lunches will be available for those younger than 18 at no cost. For those 18 and older, the meals will cost $2.

• Board members gave approval to pay outstanding bills for work done as part of the library renovation project.

Miller said about $126,000 remains in the library's construction account, which De Grez says should be enough to cover subcontractor and his company's fees.

The library hasn't had to borrow any money to pay for the project, though $150,000 was transferred from a money market account into a construction account.

Turpin said she believes expenses are on track with the library's budget, even though it looks as if a lot is being spent now on construction and new books. She said expenses should slow down in August and September. And all the big-ticket items have been purchased, she said.

"We're not anywhere over budget," she said.

• Turpin announced the library received a $1,000 donation from Citizens Bank and Trust Co. for to help with summer reading program costs. She said Webster and Emily Snyder, youth services librarian, will soon visit businesses to solicit other donations. More information about the summer reading program will be printed in a story last month.

• Board members approved an update to the library's community meeting room policy. The update makes reference to the library using pin numbers to allow access to the room and that those who damage the room will be responsible for repairs.

• In her monthly report, Webster said she read to five daycares, 33 school classes and had 41 programs in March.

• Turpin said she would like the library's 2013-2014 fiscal year budget approved next month. Board members will meet for a special meeting on Thursday, May 9, at noon at the library to discuss the budget. The meeting is open to the public.

Board members will meet for the library's next regular meeting on Monday, May 13, at noon at the library. It is also open to the public.