I recently visited the Bartholomew County Public Library, and I have to tell you, it is not your father’s library, or however that old Oldsmobile commercial goes.
The library is really jazzing things up, and Curtis Hartwell hopes people start to notice. The social media coordinator said he is trying to change the way people interact with the library.
“Libraries have always had a reputation of being a straight-laced, tight-lipped, no-nonsense sort of place, and I am trying to change that,” Hartwell said. “I want to give the library a breath of fresh air.”
In December, Hartwell started two online video series, “Dirty in 30” and “Guess that topic,” which air every Monday via the library’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/mybcpl) and YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/mybcpl). The videos highlight services offered at the library that not a lot of people know about.
“Before I started doing this series, I had no idea we offered some of the things we offer like auto repair manuals, streaming movies and free downloadable music,” Hartwell said. “I would love for more people to see these videos and find out about these awesome free services. I want people to know that we’re not just here to offer books.”
Hartwell, who has worked at the library for 15 years, said he learns something new every time he creates a video. For example, he had no idea the library offered free online genealogy research, which can cost as much as $45 per month.
Jason Hatton, Bartholomew County Public Library assistant director, appreciates Hartwell’s efforts.
“I think it is fantastic to be able to utilize Curtis’ unique talents. He has an ability to push our library resources in a creative way that really resonates with a group of users that is different from what is normally thought about from a library,” Hatton said. “He makes us cool again.”
Hartwell’s next project involves creating a music video to inspire children ages 13 to 18 to participate in the library’s summer reading program. He said Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. has agreed to show his video in the schools.
“In the past, libraries have relied on people coming into the library to find out what is offered. We want to take the information to people,” Hartwell said. “We’re trying to use out of the box ideas to give the library a younger feel, to give people a different view of what libraries are. We love our library visitors, but we would like to see some younger faces.”
I have to say that Hartwell has definitely opened my eyes. I have already used one of the programs to download a movie to watch while on a flight recently. After watching the videos and checking out the new services offered, I definitely agree that we have a very cool library.
Paige Harden Langenderfer is a proud lifelong resident of Columbus. A former Republic newspaper reporter, Paige is now a freelance writer and public relations consultant. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.