The value of the library shared with Rotary Club

Published 5:22 pm Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Catherine Vanstone spoke to fellow Rotarians at Tuesday’s meeting to inform them on the value of having a library and the many services it provides in the community.

Vanstone is the assistant director of technology, training and development for the Gilbert H. Gragg Library in Bainbridge, which is a division of the Southwest Georgia Regional Library System.

She began by saying those who received property tax notices saw a designated percentage that goes to support the library and she wanted to assure the listeners of the value received for their tax money.

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On a simple scale, she said every book rented from the library instead of being purchased realized a personal savings of $25 per incident. The cost saved on a magazine averages $3.50.

She went on to describe the costs saved by renting videos, DVDs, and books on tape, indicating that usage and savings were 33 percent up from last year.

The library also offers computer classes on Word and Excel and that the classes are so popular there is a two-month waiting list.

Although the local library has an extensive inventory of reading materials, there are some that are not available locally, but can be borrowed from other libraries throughout the state of Georgia.

The library also makes available passes to the state park system and to historic sites. A new pass has been created just for Atlanta attractions.

There is a meeting room available to the public. The children’s programs continue to be popular, with Toddler Time on Tuesdays and Legos on Thursdays. There is also a scribblers Society for teens. The summer reading programs attract many youth.

The computers available for the public were used 44,348 times in the last year.

The library also answers many reference questions from the public, as well as helping people learn to use their technology tools.

A big division is the information contained in the genealogy room. It has records of local cemeteries. There is also an extensive recording of the yearbooks from the Bainbridge Airbase, all of which have been scanned for ease in reading. They speak of the people who lived and worked there during the WWII years, and where they came from.

A unique section of the local library is that it is the only regional library left in Georgia with a division of materials to serve the population of those who are legally blind. The Gilbert H. Gragg Library falls under the Georgia Board of Regents umbrella, which has allowed it to keep its independence and the services for the blind.

The Bookmobile remains active in bringing reading materials to outlying areas.