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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Why Do Libraries Matter?

“Recently there has been much discussion about a large reduction in funds for Ohio public libraries, due to the economic crisis being faced by the state. Why does this matter?” The Newton Falls Public Library staff has been responding to this question daily. We believe libraries serve as the great technology and information equalizer - a source of informational and enrichment materials and programs for all citizens regardless of their age, race, gender, and social or economic standing. And libraries deal daily with how the changes in the economy affect our patrons and our services.

For too long the role of the community library has been viewed as just a place that provides patrons with entertainment in the form of books, music, and movies. The library’s role has changed. We still offer print and entertainment materials, but as more and more information is becoming available online, we are finding patrons need us to assist them “searching for the needle in the haystack” of World Wide Web. We assist the unemployed with Internet access to job search sites and listings, plus instruction in the creation of resumes and use of state and federal assistance beyond the scope of One Stop facilities. Without this free access to the Internet, one-on-one assistance from our staff, and computer classes, many people would be lost in the area of technology. We provide patrons with free resources they require to improve and manage their health, improve their skills in various areas, conduct research, study for tests, seek legal and tax information, fix their cars, plan their estates, do their school assignments - in short a multitude of the practical, necessary tasks of daily living. We cannot count the number of patrons who have come to our library for assistance holding a letter from a government agency telling them to get some required piece of information from the library. Libraries play a critical role in the health and working of the community. Our library provides the local schools and homeschooling families with materials that support their curriculum, as well as resources to the community’s senior lunch program. Throughout the year there are enrichment and educational programs for everyone, from infants to seniors.

Libraries serve as a lifeline for the neediest segments of the population, offering the poor and unemployed critical services and information they cannot acquire elsewhere. Here in Trumbull County where unemployment is at 14.3% the need for library services is particularly necessary. Patrons have been coming to us requiring job search and skill building assistance they cannot get elsewhere. They must also have access to computers to apply online and regularly check e-mail concerning job prospects. Large reductions in services could put these already struggling people out of reach of the realistic means to find employment. There is no public transportation and many of our patrons walk to the library, suggesting that access to another library would be beyond their reach.

We wish to thank all our patrons, local businesses, and community organizations for their kind words and support. We invite everyone to visit the Newton Falls Public Library, 204 S. Canal St., Newton Falls, phone 330-872-1282,
or online at and to take advantage of everything the library has to offer:

Materials available for use:
*Books – large type, paperback, hardback, board, oversize, AR, graphic novels, easy readers
*Audiobooks – CD, cassette, Playaways
*Videos & DVDs
*Cassette players
*Telesensory viewer
*Magnifying glasses
*Parent/Teacher collection
*Print & online job search guides & skills materials
*Floppy drives

*Computer classes
*Job search programs
*Story times for children, 0–6 years of age & families
*Library Sprouts
*Readers Theater Club
*Summer reading clubs & programs for adults, teens, & children ages 0 – 12
*Game Design workshop for teens
*Knit & Stitch
*Adult enrichment
*Teens – Wii, Anime Club
*Book Discussions – Library & off site
*In-house programming for special groups such as school classrooms, daycares, Girl Scout troops
*Art exhibits & displays

Local History Room:
*Community historical reference
*Genealogy assistance
*Community photos, memorabilia, newspapers

Library services:
*Reference – in-house, phone & online
*Readers’ advisory
*Teacher Totes
*Self serve copier
*Public access Internet computers & printers
*Homeschooling assistance
*Meeting rooms
*Informational articles for local newspapers
*Golden Buckeye registration
*Voter registration
*Tax forms, including printing of forms online
*Assignment Alerts temporary collections
*One-on-one computer & Internet assistance

Online services:
*Teacher Pathfinders
*Databases such as AllData Pro, LearningExpress Library & Ohio Career Information System
*Ask the Librarian
*Interactive blogs for adults, teens, & children
*Local community & organization links
*Library calendar
*Community calendar

Items available at low cost to assist patrons:
*Flash drives
*Multiple computer print jobs & photocopies
*Floppy disks

Cooperative programs:
*Homebound Service contracted through WTCPL
*Book Share w/ schools & daycares - materials to support local school curriculum
*Senior Totes w/ senior lunch program
*County and state lending via ILL through MORE, SEO & TiPL
*Purchasing w/ NEO-RLS & TiPL
*Off-site programming for special groups such as senior citizens, school classrooms, daycares, *Girl Scout troops, & local organizations
*One Book Two Counties area wide book discussions & events

Staff participation in community events & organizations:
*Home 44444 the Holidays
*Newton Falls Area Commerce Association
*North Pole Challenge
*Friends of the Library
*Relay for Life

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