New programs, partnerships, changes at library

The end of the year is always an excellent time to look back at accomplishments and build on them for the coming year. In my role at the library, I’m often so ensconced in day-to-day operations, I thought it would be really helpful to look back at the year at the Bartholomew County Public Library in a bigger-picture fashion.

As I did that, I realized that the public library had never introduced more exciting programs, made more positive changes and built more partnerships than we did this year.

The public library serves all in our community, and we took steps this year to expand our partnership with other community organizations. Early in the year, we selected an initial collection of new children’s books to be housed in the Boys and Girls Club for use in summer and after-school programming. The library also has expanded its partnership with the America and Roby Anderson Community Center. We now regularly travel to the center for programs such as basic computer instruction, game playing, crafts and more.

We continue to expand our offerings of digital resources, and this year we introduced three exciting new formats to experience books. VOX Books are physical books with built-in narration buttons, transforming an ordinary print book into an all-in-one read-along. Playaways are preloaded audiobooks with no discs or internet required. Finally, Launchpad tablets are preloaded with learning content in a variety of subjects, for all ages, such as animals, languages, life skills, math, brain games and more.

Our library hosts so many events each week, for all ages, from lecture-style presentations to more hands-on events such as painting or craft making. Some of our most well-attended events in 2017 included the Ladies For Liberty singers, viewing of the solar eclipse on the library plaza and Medicare seminars.

Our biggest program of the year is always Summer Reading. This year, we introduced a new Summer Reading Challenge for all ages, with volunteering, learning a new skill, and visiting local landmarks added in addition to the reading rewards. It was really cool to see the completed challenge cards form a virtual map of blue and green along the walls of the lower level of the building.

The library greatly expanded children’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math programing this year, and the response has been enthusiastic. We now have weekly programs in which children hear a story and then create and experiment based on the story’s theme.

Some of the highlights included using chemistry to make ice cream, making necklaces out of each of the solar system’s planets, and experimenting with static electricity. We continue to offer coding courses using Chromebooks, Raspberry Pi’s and Ozobots. Ozobots are robots that follow commands made through basic coding.

Finally, the library’s Digital Underground continues to be a hub for digital music and video recording, Adobe Creative usage and 3D printing. As 3D printing has become more sophisticated this past year, our staff has worked hard to stay up-to-date on the latest software and techniques.

Robots in the library. Books available at the tap of an app. Printing 3D objects you’ve designed on the computer. Library staff that come to your organization to host events and provide materials. Sure, we still have your favorite hardback books.

But I hope you see that the role of the library in 2017 has expanded in so many ways. See you in 2018.

Tyler Munn is reference supervisor at Bartholomew County Public Library. He can be reached at tmunn@mybcpl.org