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Library extends reach, promotes eReader services
FLORESVILLE -- The Sam Fore Jr. Wilson County Public Library here is extending its reach to other areas of the county, as part of its long-range plan.
Library Director Nicki Stohr said first on the list is the Stockdale area, which currently is home to the Sarah Bain Chandler Public Library located on Main Street. The two libraries are working to upgrade Stockdale’s audio books from tapes to compact discs. The county already assists the smaller library through its affiliation with the McNaughton lease program, which allows for 15 best-selling books to be available in Stockdale every month.
Stohr said the county and Stockdale are working toward an interlocal agreement that would place a master-degreed librarian in the Bain Chandler library. This is the first step toward state accreditation, which then would make the Stockdale location eligible for state and federal grants. Funding to pay that librarian would become available following the April 30, 2014, retirement of longtime library employee Cynthia Peck from Floresville’s library.
Establishing a branch in Stockdale also would shrink the service population of the county library. Currently, Stohr said, the library’s service area is the entire county, for which there must be one item able to be circulated per resident. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Wilson County was home to an estimated 44,370 residents in 2012. During that same year, there were 1,484 people living in the city limits of Stockdale. A 2012 estimate for the entire 78160 ZIP code was unavailable, but the area -- which includes Stockdale and surrounding unincorporated areas -- had 4,273 residents in 2010. Stohr said an actual service area for the Stockdale library is yet to be determined.
The county’s library’s automated kiosk inside LifeChek Drug in La Vernia continues to be popular with area readers, Stohr said, as an average of 200 items -- including books and DVDS -- are checked out each month.
“With the amount of service the kiosk is getting, it would be nice to have a satellite [library] in La Vernia,” she said.
Not to be forgotten in the library’s expansion is Poth. Stohr said plans are under way for a small free library. A location is being sought to construct a small structure similar to a paperback exchange, where library members can check out and drop off books. A carpenter also is being sought.
Part of the push for reaching out into other areas of the county comes from findings of a recent survey though the Edge Initiative, funded through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Stohr said the library scored low on its community connection, which also is the driving force behind ongoing changes to its website, http://bit.ly/1gFeZXx, and the establishment of its Facebook presence.
Also related to technology, the library continues to enjoy success with the Overdrive Media Console, which is a mobile application that allows users to check out books and audio books via Smartphone, tablet, or eReader device. Stohr said that Wilson County’s library is one of 20 that participate in the Lone Star Digital Library, which allows them to share costs in offering a collection that currently consists of 826 audio books, 2,954 eBooks, and 22 videos available for download for times ranging from seven to 21 days.
For those unsure how to operate eReaders, such as the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook, Stohr said the library offers tutorials that it has dubbed the “petting zoo.”
The library also is seeking donations of eReaders to increase its stock of devices that users can check out. Stohr said the library currently has one such device that it loans, but would be pleased to accept used devices from area residents.
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