Card gets you more than books at local library
KINGMAN - Sapphires, asters and three-day weekends may be some of the symbols most frequently associated with the month of September, but they're not the only ones - take the library card, for example.
Since 1987, September has been the American Library Association's "Library Card Sign-up Month," a month meant to promote the benefits libraries provide to their surrounding communities. But the library has come a long way from the popular image of a stolid, silent sanctuary - indeed, the local library at 3269 N. Burbank St. is actually a pretty happening place these days.
"We're having art classes, we're having book discussions, and it's really becoming more of a community center," said Senior Library Assistant Kristi Turman. "Our patron attendance just recently has increased dramatically. We have people waiting hours to have an appointment on the Internet, and there's also the fact that we provide free computer classes that allow people to learn new skills to help them become more competent as new jobs are harder to find."
In fact, nearly 8,000 people attended various library programs last year alone, in addition to the 29,000 patrons who checked out more than 170,000 items. And "items" is the most appropriate term, since the library has become much more than a repository for books. In addition to DVD films and audiobooks on tape and CD, Turman said the library is likely to begin stocking digital media as well.
"We just recently conducted a survey on what our patrons prefer more, e-books or digital MP3 audiobooks, and the Mohave County Library is going to be offering one of those items soon," she said. "We currently have 66,000 items we can provide at any one time."
Turman said she's particularly proud of the library's contract with Brainfuse, an online resource that allows local students to access a variety of homework and research assistance programs that link them directly to real-life tutors from around the country.
"It's live online homework help from expert tutors, tutors who are accredited," she said. "They can help you on science, math, English, etc., and it has an online whiteboard so you can chat with the tutors and they can explain with the written word and visually."
The software also includes resources for college students and adults, including a writing excellence center, which allows patrons to write a document, submit it to a tutor, and have it returned within 24 hours with grammatical corrections and compositional suggestions.
"There's also a test center where you can practice SAT, ACT and state-aligned math, reading and writing tests," Turman said. "And then there's the Adult Learning Center which has one-on-one academic coaching as well as a practice test center that allows you to prepare for the U.S. Citizenship Test, pass your GED, or connect with an expert and learn Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint. It will also help you with an expert to write a winning resume and cover letter."
The library also features a continually expanding selection of free adult programs, such as beginner painting lessons and in-depth book discussions, as well as featured guests and community meetings.
"This month we have a Scrabble club on the eighth from 2 to 4 p.m., and we're having a book discussion on a book by Tony Hillerman called 'Dance of the Dead' on the fourteenth from 1 to 3:30," Turman said. "Then we have a presentation by a couple of representatives from the Hualapai Indian tribe called, 'Who are the Hualapai?', and it's going to be a rich history of the tribe locally, and that's going to be Sept. 21 from 6 till 8 p.m."
Turman said there's a different set of programs each month, and the library is always on the lookout for new events to incorporate into its calendar, in addition to new materials for patrons to check out. "Last year 11,576 items were catalogued, that means new books that were brought into our system for Kingman alone," she said.
The library opens at 9 a.m. Monday through Saturday and closes at 6 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
For more information on services and programs offered by the Mohave County Library, call (928) 692-2665 or visit www.mohavecountylibrary.info/mohave/kingman.asp.