Small-town libraries in western Illinois update services

Updated 10/29/2016 8:41 AM

GALESBURG, Ill. -- Three small-town libraries in western Illinois are bringing a variety of modern services to their patrons.

The Register-Mail ( reports the Maquon District Public Library is part of an inter-library loan program in which it can borrow books from other libraries for its patrons. The library has public computers with internet, DVDs and braille books.

The Maquon library is a district library, and serves a tax base of five townships. Mardell May has been librarian there for about a year, and brought automation to the library in March. She also hopes to expand the library to include a historical museum.

When Village of Avon Public Library director Courtney Young became a librarian in December 2015, she prioritized getting an automated check-out system. Now, the library uses a bar code system rather than stamp cards to keep records.

The library also just started offering e-books, which can be downloaded at home by those with a library card. There has been an uptick in inter-library loans, and there are three computers for internet usage. The library also has free Wi-Fi and Young is working on building a website.

The Greig Memorial Library in Oneida has four computers with internet as well as computer lessons. Librarian Dave Sheppard organizes the library more like a bookstore rather than using the Dewey Decimal Classification.

"A service shouldn't be harder than it needs to be," Sheppard said. The children's books are organized by grade level. Children's non-fiction are labeled for easier identification, such as "places" and "people" rather than "geography" and "biographies."

The library also has four internet computers and computer lessons; there is an adult coloring club on Wednesdays, and a summer reading program. The "RAT Pack" program allows ROWVA students to read and work toward the National Honor Society.


Information from: The Register-Mail,

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