Jessica Blain acquired a love for reading when she was a child.
She earned a business degree in college, and that love for reading led her to apply for the position as director of the Evans Public Library, which she has now filled for five years.
She is still enthusiastic about her job and especially about the many services the library offers the community, in addition to the large selection of books. The books literally overflow the shelving available, as Evans Public Library seeks to fulfill its mission to provide educational, cultural and recreational resources and services to all ages of people in the Evans Library District.
Want to watch some Christmas DVDs for free? Listen to Christmas music? Provide Christmas story books for your children at no charge? Research some of the old traditions of Christmas?
Check with Jessica Blain and the staff … and meet Jessica as she shares the services offered.
Inspiration for Chosen Profession
Blain explains the inspiration for her chosen profession as director of Evans Public Library simply with the words “I love to read.”
“I have always loved to read, since I was a child.
“I’m originally from Ramsey, and this was the library we used,” she said. “Then, we could pay a fee and use the library here. So, I’ve been in this library forever, and I love it."
As you enter Evans Public Library, you see benches lining the hallway wall and, at present, you see children’s artwork displayed along the walls. The hallway leads you right to the service desk area, where staff is ready to give you friendly, courteous assistance, if needed.
Currently, you will see books stacked to resemble a Christmas tree, arranged by staff member Linda Kelly. The staff held a Christmas story time during the recent “Olde Tyme Christmas” in downtown Vandalia.
The staff members are: Kelly-children’s librarian; Cathy Smith-YA librarian and interlibrary loan; Lori Cearlock-bookkeeper and circulation; Kathy Hall-cataloger; Vicki Hipsher-homebound delivery; Sarah Davis-library assistant; Shauna Mailer and Kathy Gehle-shelvers; and Debby Woolsey-janitor.
The Many Services Offered … to all Ages
The library is a member of the Heartland Library System and provides free services to all residents living within the Evans Public Library boundaries, with services available to all others for a fee.
Blain spoke of one her favorite services the library offers.
“I like that we help the community,” she said. “And we do homebound deliveries in the city limits for those people who are unable to get out and come to the library.”
This program benefits not only the elderly, but also those who are homebound because of illness or injury. “Our policy now is to deliver up to one mile outside the city limits,” Blain said.
The library serves as a learning and educational center for all residents of the community.
“We do other outreach programs in the community,” she said. “We do what we call lap sits for toddlers. They can sit on our laps for the story time that we do twice a month for small children. There are two Head Starts in Vandalia now and they come in once a month.”
Just a few of the services offered, along with homebound delivery include: e-books; interlibrary loan; reference assistance; reading programs for all ages; equipment rental (slide projector, overhead projector, screen); microfilm readers; wireless Internet; self-serve photocopy machine; personal computers for word processing; computers for children’s games; and a magnification machine. The Library also houses the Fayette County Genealogical materials, hosts the Fayette County Genealogical Library, and in the Lincoln Room-a collection of historical Abraham Lincoln items and library.
They also host special programs for the children, such as Tammy and Robert Roger’s popular program P.A.C.K. (Pups Assisting Children with Kindness), which is held the first and third Tuesday of each month.
A Little Evans Library History
The Evans Public Library Foundation was established in 1997 to encourage gifts of money, property and other material things of value to the library. Gifts can be made in honor of or in memory of someone.
The books are overflowing the shelves.
“We have to weed out books, shuffle, reorganize and rearrange, just to make enough room to allow space for new books coming in. We are needing more space.” Blaine said.
The Evans Youth Center/Scout House has been donated to the library, and “We would love to build, but we are waiting for funding,” Blaine said.
For More Information
Evans Public Library hours are: Monday-Thursday: 9 a.m. -7 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday-9 a.m.-5 p.m. The library is closed on Sundays.
The Evans Public Library has a Facebook page and is linked with Pinterest. The library is located at: 215 S. Fifth St., the phone number is 283-2824 and its e-mail address is www.epl.lib.il.us