Blogs

Library Eliminates Overdue Fines

The Library is closing the book on your fines!

At their meeting on Wednesday, January 15, the Library Board of Directors approved a policy to eliminate overdue fines, effective March 1. The policy waives all unpaid overdue fines and collection agency fees charged prior to implementation, and eliminates fines for all late returns moving forward.

Libraries have long charged overdue fines to promote responsible borrowing and as a modest source of revenue. Recent national trends have shifted to focus on the negative impacts of fines as a deterrent to library use, especially among disadvantaged individuals. Consequently, a growing number of public libraries have eliminated overdue fines in an effort to support all members of their communities, and the American Library Association earlier this year passed a resolution stating that fines constitute a barrier to service and urging their elimination nationwide.

Census at the Library

hands raised

The Library is a proud partner of the 2020 census, which determines the allocation of billions of dollars in federal funding. If you’re not already familiar, once every 10 years, the census counts every person residing in the 50 United States, DC, and five US territories. Data collected affects the country’s ability to ensure equal representation and access to government resources, directly affecting funding for schools, healthcare services, housing, transportation, and of course, libraries.

April 1 is officially Census Day, though the public may respond to the census earlier. If you are able to receive postal mail, you can look for your invitation to arrive in mid-March. The 2020 census is the first to encourage participation through online response. The invitation will provide a unique code allowing you to participate online, as well as information about how to answer the census by telephone or postal mail.

The Gift of Reading

The Library offers a white elephant staff picks display with books patrons can surprise themself with.

By Chantal Cagle, Information Assistant

Last year, one night in December, a gentleman pulled up to the Main Library drive-up window to pick up his holds. I scanned his card and saw he had 13 books waiting for him.

"You have a lot to pick up!" I said.
"It's the best part of Christmas," he replied.

As I trundled back and forth between the shelves and the checkout counter with his books, I pondered his words. Surely he knew he had to return the books? I handed him back his library card.

"When you said it was the best part of Christmas, did you mean you have more time to read them, or did you mean giving the books?"
"The books are destined to be wrapped and deposited under the tree," he replied.
"You know you have to return them though, right?"
"Oh yes, that's part of the fun––not holding onto things," he laughed.

Library Receives Grant for Future Southwest Branch Teaching Kitchen

The Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County (CFBMC) awarded the Library a grant for equipment, appliances, and supplies to establish a 600-square foot teaching kitchen as part of the construction of the forthcoming Southwest Branch Library. Scheduled to open in 2022, the kitchen will provide free, hands-on cooking and nutrition programs for all ages, increasing food security and advancing literacy, math, and science. The Library has hired an architect for the new branch and is currently investigating site options.

Mental Health Zines

Mental Health Zines

Due to the prevalence and need for mental health services, and a general lack of them in many communities, zines on mental health serve a special need. Zines can help frame mental health in both a frank and gentle way, while also providing tips and encouragement for self-care. Many mental health zines are based around an individual's personal experience, so they provide a first-hand account of the associated trauma and healing processes. These zines can also acknowledge intersectional issues—issues that speak to the fact that queer individuals, people of color, and folks who are differently-abled deal with additional institutional forms of oppression, and thus stress. For anyone interested in learning more, here is a selection of zines in the Library’s collection that cover this topic.

Library Receives Grants for Seed Library and Gardening Initiatives

Seed Library

According to the National Gardening Association, 35% of households in the US grow food either at home or in a community garden, up 200% in the last ten years. In keeping with the trend, the Library recently applied for and received two generous gardening grants.

The Main Library received a grant from the George E. Archer Foundation to support a series of gardening programs for preschool and school-aged children, the purchase of a bench in the Children’s Garden, and the start of a seed library. The George E. Archer Foundation strives to help boys and girls learn about gardening in South Central Indiana, providing grants that support gardening education initiatives for youth.

It's Your Lucky Day with the Libby App!

It could be your lucky day!

Skip the waitlist for new, in-demand titles through the Libby app from OverDrive! Libby now offers select eBook and audiobook titles on a first-come, first-served basis. Browse the app’s “Lucky Day” section for available books. The selection will change as titles are returned and new books are added, so check back often!

In addition to “Lucky Day” titles, readers can browse the “Always Available” list in Libby to find all immediately available eBooks and audiobooks. Libby also offers current issues of popular magazines like Newsweek and TV Guide.

If you’re new to Libby, you can download it from the app store, create an account using your Library card number and password, then start browsing! The Libby app is available for Apple and Android devices. eBooks can also be read on Kindle devices.

Library Wins State, Local Awards

Shannon Bowman-Sarkisian was selected as the winner of the Indiana Library Federation (ILF) 2019 Outstanding Library Staff Award for her work on increasing Library access for domestic violence survivors. 

After years of working in west coast bookstores and developing a specialty in rare books, Shannon is now studying to be a librarian at Indiana University and working as an Information Assistant at the Library. Shannon was awarded the Friends of the Library Pioneer Grant in February, which she used to start Creating Access for Violence Survivors (CAVS).

New National eBook Club

The Libraries Transform Book Pick is a new digital reading program that connects readers nationwide by offering free access to the same eBook through public libraries. The program, a collaboration between the American Library Association (ALA) and Rakuten OverDrive, gives public libraries the opportunity to bring readers together to discover a new eBook and celebrate the very best in reading.

After the Flood, an inventive and riveting climate fiction saga by Kassandra Montag, will be available October 7–21. Use your library card and the Libby app to download a free copy of the eBook to your personal device. There will be no waitlists or holds for this title.  

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