By Lindsay Owens Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald
---- — A new year brings new programs to the Washington Carnegie Public Library, programs that library director Teresa Heidenreich is very excited about.
“We have programs planned for patrons of all ages,” said Heidenreich. “We’ve been in touch with authors for our ‘One Book One Community’ event in the fall. We’ll have our summer reading program and a new outdoor program for children and adults as well.”
Heidenreich said many other services and free programs also take place throughout the year.
Currently, participants in the adult winter reading program are preparing for a book discussion Jan. 30 on “Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the real Downton Abbey” by the Countess of Carnarvon and several other activities are planned to correspond with the reading. Evening programs on historical homes in England including Syon House will take place in February.
Unlike the summer reading program, adult services programming and outreach coordinator Rick Chambon said the winter program is much shorter but still offers special programs as well as book discussions.
“The real lives of those who live in Highclere Castle are as fascinating as those of the fictional Downton Abbey,” said Chambon.
Registration for the book discussions is not required but Chambon asks that those wishing to attend the programs on historic homes, to register in case inclement weather causes the event to be postponed.
Copies of “Lady Catherine” are still available for checkout at the adult services circulation desk.
The library also offers an adult literacy program where adults in need of improving their reading skills are paired with “teachers” who work with the learners for a minimum of 90 minutes a week.
“Learners can start the program anytime,” said Heidenreich. “We have teachers available to help.”
Youth Services Librarian Lori Osmon will be hosting author Margaret Peterson Haddix via Skype on Feb. 4. Haddix is the writer of the the “Shadow Children” series and the “Missing” series as well as many other books for readers of all ages.
The youth department is also gearing up for the annual Battle of the Books, a trivia contest with questions based off of nearly a dozen books for students in fifth and sixth grade.
Tutoring is also available for elementary students. “Our tutoring program started in 1998,” said Osmon. “We have 16 eighth grade students as well as two high school students that tutor 27 elementary students each week.”
Students doing the tutoring often receive credit from clubs they are involved in such as Junior Beta or Key Club.
“The tutoring draws quite a lot of interest. The one-on-one setting with someone older and unrelated to the student can make a big difference,” said Osmon.
Youth services also offers several weekly programs including lapsit rhyme time for children under age 2 and Toddler Time for two and three year olds. A Lego club also meets once a month.
Heidenreich said the library has received a Daviess Community Foundation grant to cover the cost of the an outdoor beautification project and program that will take place later this year.
“We are really excited about the opportunity to have this program,” Heidenreich said. “We’ll be improving the library grounds while offering programs on the history of the library and how the library got the ground. We’ll have gardening and other environmental programs for patrons of all ages.”
Part of the grant will include the installation library history trail.
The library has also applied for a grant to improve the wireless internet in the building. “We will be adding another wireless access point so that all areas of the library will have better WiFi coverage. We plan to have the new access point up and running by summer,” said Heidenreich who added that there is a demand for wireless printing.
A document management system that would itemize records and other documents may be purchased with other grant money. The system would convert items, such as genealogical research documents, as well as other materials so that items would be key word searchable.
Starting March 1, the library will also be changing its hours of operation. “One of the most significant changes is the reduction of our operating hours to compensate for the continued loss of revenue because of the property tax caps and the projected budget shortfall for 2014,” said Heidenreich.
That shortfall totals $71,000 and could mean even more if the property tax caps are approved again. Libraries, which are a government service, may face more shortfalls totalling an additional $20,000 locally.
“Libraries represent hope, equality and opportunity for everyone in a community,” Heidenreich said.
“They are an essential government service and must be full funded. Adequate funding should be a priority for our elected officials now and in the future.”
“With the revenue shortfall, the board was faced with reducing personnel hours which also resulted in a decrease in the operating hours,” Heidenreich said.
Currently the library is open 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday.
After March 1, the library will trim six hours of operation. New hours will be Monday and Tuesday noon to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
“Finding hope in the midst of budget shortfalls remains challenging,” she said. “We are re-prioritizing library services, collections, and staffing with a mind toward using limited resources wisely. The library is resilient and can weather difficult times.”
Heidenreich said she and members of the library board of trustees hope that the reduction in hours will only be temporary.
“We want to be clear that this library belongs to the taxpayers of the City of Washington and we will continue to offer the quality programming, materials, and technology that is in demand and expected,” said Heidenreich.
For more information on the library call 254-4586 or visit www.washingtonpubliclibrary.org.
New library hours beginning March 1 Monday - noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday - noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m Saturday - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.