Iredell County Public Library adding to mix of services, programs
BY KARISSA MILLER
With so many activities and things to compete for people’s attention, library staff can’t just sit around and wait for people to come through the door.
Iredell County Public Library Director Juli Moore explained that libraries must change and grow with the times, and actively reach out to the community to make the public aware of the services and programs they offer.
“We realize that we do a good job in marketing and creating our flyers, but we need it (our efforts) to be more organized. We thought it would be great to have a position where everything was funneled through one person,” Moore said.
Meet Jenny Levins
Jenny Levins will take the reins as program development and community engagement coordinator with the Iredell County Public Library in Statesville.
Levins has worked for the Iredell County library since the summer of 2017.
Before taking on this position, Levins has served as a library assistant while finishing up her master’s degree in Library Science. She anticipates completing her degree in May.
“I’ve always known that I’ve wanted to be a librarian. A lot of people get into this field accidently … I was one of the weird ones who as a high school teenager .. was like ‘I want to be a librarian’ and knew that’s what I want to do,” Levins said.
In her new role as the program development and community engagement coordinator, she will be focusing her energies on promoting the events and services of all three branches of the Iredell County Public Library.
Additionally, she’ll find out from the public what types of programs and services the community wants and needs.
Advertising and Outreach
Many library systems have no advertising budget because of the perception that taxpayers will object to money being spent that way. Often times, the library utilizes its website and free social media platforms to get the message out to the public.
Levins said that she utilizes Facebook to promote events and programming. They also plan on implementing an Instagram account soon. While social media has been an effective means of communication, many of their followers are regular library users and not necessarily new patrons.
The staff knows their programs can’t be effective if the public doesn’t know about them.
To increase foot traffic, Levins said they are reaching out to more businesses and organizations in the community to try and launch a number of new programs.
One example of a community partnership is with the Iredell County Animal Shelter’s “Mutt-I-Grees” program. The library has local students, who are trying to earn community service hours, volunteer in a maker space event for the shelter. Small toys, treats and other items made are then donated to the shelter.
In turn, the Animal Shelter has their volunteer coordinator come and read stories at the library.
“We’re just trying to get out in the community to promote our services while collaborating with other agencies. We try to make it beneficial for all parties involved,” Moore said.
What’s New for Students?
Libraries still provide access to valuable resources and reference materials in a variety of ways. Regular cardholders can check out up to 100 items at a time, including books, e-books and other resources.
For StudentAccess accounts, students and teachers, 10 items can be checked out at a time.
A new partnership that launched in November that provides courier services to Iredell-Statesville Schools was made possible through a grant.
If there’s a book that any student wants, all they have to do is request the material through their StudentAccess account from the library.
“We have a courier that goes daily and students can pick up the material in their school media center. When they are done with the items, they can return them to their media center and then they are couriered back to us,” Moore said.
“We have all of these students with a StudentAccess account, but they still have transportation issues. This way the library can come to them,” she added.
“It’s a challenge sometimes for people to get to the library and they can ask for that book and it can be delivered to their school,” Moore said.
Upcoming Programs and Events
Just this month at the Iredell County Public Library you could have: taken a writing workshop, had a drink and a snack, received help on your homework, learned to crotchet, made scented lavender soap bars and purchased DVDs at the book sale.
While the library continues to focus on promoting literacy, it also offers many services and programs, most all of which are virtually free and available to anyone.
Computers for public use are available at the library location. All computers have Internet access as well as Microsoft Office including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Tablets and e-readers are also available.
If you haven’t been in the library for a while, the staff invites you to come and check it out.
Upcoming Events: January
“Let’s Talk about it,” a book discussion in five sessions, will begin in January. The series, which is free and open to the public, features a mystery novel theme this year. The first discussion will take place on Thursday, Jan. 17, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Statesville library.
“We have scholars that come in and lead the group discussions after everyone has read the title,” Levins said.
A copy of the book is available at the library. Levins said that you don’t have to have a library card to check out the material. The program is made possible through the N.C. Humanities Council grant and by the Iredell Friends of the Library.
The schedule is as follows:
Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m.
Jan. 17 - Dance Hall of the Dead
Jan. 31 - Time's Witness
Feb. 14 - Devil in a Blue Dress
Feb. 28 - Burn Marks
March 14 - The Last Child
February: Iredell’s Writing group
Want to join a writer’s group? Make some new friends, receive encouragement and improve your skills as local author Billie-Fae Gill leads a writer’s group for both beginners and published writers. They will meet the first Tuesday of each month. Refreshments provided by the Friends of the Library. The event will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 11 a.m. to noon.
Mutt-I-Grees event at Animal Shelter
Stop by the Iredell Animal Shelter and make a toy or treat for the animals there. Students can earn an hour of volunteer time. Afterwards drop in and meet the animals looking for a home. The event will take place at the Animal Shelter, located at 430 Bristol Drive, Statesville, on Feb. 23 from 10 to 11 a.m.
April: Author book signing
The library will host Mooresville author Jack Grossman, who wrote Child of the Forest, a true story about holocaust survivor Charlene Perlmutter Schiff. Grossman will discuss his work and sign copies of his book. The event will take place on Tuesday, April 2 at 6 p.m.