Visitors to the America and Roby Anderson Community Center can now peruse varied cookbooks, pick up a recent-release movie or grab the latest John Grisham bestseller.

The selections are part of a partnership between the center and the Bartholomew County Public Library.

The deposit collection established in January is the library’s second. The first and larger one was launched about a year ago at the nearby Foundation for Youth.

Betty A. Wicker, a regular visitor to the east side community center, already has checked out six books and several videos. They range from Alexandra Bracken’s novel, “The Darkest Minds,” to “The Adventures of Captain Underpants,” by Dav Pilkey, for her 6-year-old grandson.

Story continues below gallery

“Oh my goodness,” Wicker said. “He’s always looking for more to read.”

She is, too.

Wicker said she also visits the library building itself on Fifth Street downtown. But she said many of the Anderson center clients do not drive, so having such a resource available so conveniently is significant.

Plus, some donated library books recently were then gifted to some of the Anderson center clients. Wicker, disabled and on a limited income, said such help is huge, since she got a couple books for her grandson that normally would have cost her $18 apiece.

“We couldn’t have afforded to buy those books,” she said.

Wicker also mentioned that she loves the fact that center users can request specific titles — and library staff have promised to try to get them, if possible.

Sandy Allman, a member of the library’s reference department, coordinated the effort that cost about $1,300 after taking with center visitors and users and leaders of the State Street Association that operates the center.

Allman selected items for the collection with the assistance of fellow library staff members Robert Mixner, Christina Kelley and Jodi Prather.

“It’s important that people can come to a place where they’re already comfortable,” Allman said.

She said Anderson center clients have been excited about the effort that runs the gamut from teen titles to adult geneology guides.

Library director Jason Hatton highlighted precisely these kind of efforts as a priority when he assumed the library helm in May 2015.

“We plan on investing more (in such collections) over time,” Hatton said Thursday.

In all, nearly 100 books and videos currently are available from the deposit, according to the library.

Besides the collection, Allman has worked with the State Street Association to bring the Bookmobile to the facility and to lead monthly computer classes at the center.

“We don’t want anything from them,” Allman said of the center users. “We simply want to enrich their lives.”

About the America and Roby Anderson Community Center

Where: 422 McClure Ave. in Columbus.

Hours: Varying because the center is run by volunteers with the State Street Association. But hours generally are 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. weekdays, with opening sometimes as early as 9:30 a.m. Fridays. Other hours are determined by meetings and events.

Phone: 812-799-0910.

Author photo
Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.