Looking at the Library

Statements claiming that libraries are a thing of the past are greatly exaggerated; in fact, they are just not true.

And, the truth is, Evans Public Library in Vandalia has continued to serve a steady stream of patrons as it has continued to adjust the changes in society, mainly technological ones.
In fact, Evans Library has a long list of services that it provides to the public:
• Summer and winter reading programs for youth, as well as other programs from both younger children and teens.
• Home delivery of library materials.
• Assistance with genealogical research.
• Providing color and black and white copies.
• Providing a fax service.
• Computers with Internet acces.
• WiFi.
• eBooks and audio books, with more than 25,500 items available.
• Select Reads, a monthly newsletter that includes the newest releases coming to the library.
• Online access to The Leader-Union and newspapers through the country, as well as magazines.
• A website that not only provides information about services provided at the library but also includes links to a number of well-used websites, such as those providing legal and medical information.
• A partnership with Goodshop, a service that provides coupon for businesses such as Target, Apple, Amazon and Petco. A percentage of virtually every purchase made through the service supports the library.
And, then, of course, there are the thousands and thousands of books on the shelves at Evans Public Library.
The library offers something for all ages, according to Evans Librarian Jessica Blain.
“We serve all ages, all walks of like,” Blain said, “from the young children who attend our story times to those who can’t even get to the library because they don’t drive or our homebound,” she said.
“We see what the needs of the community are and we try to meet those needs, whatever they are,” Blain said.
“For example, we are in a digital age, but not everyone can afford to have the Internet or computers that print,” she said.
“And there is a lot of online testing and things like that that people can’t always do at home or on their phones,” Blain said.
“As there have been changes in society, we have strived to evolve and address those changes,” she said.
The library staff of five full-time employees, including Blain, and five part-time workers serve thousands of people each month.
For example, in May, Evans Library had about 5,400 patrons. And while that can be an average monthly figure, those numbers are higher in the summer months, when local children make numerous visits due to their participation in the library’s summer reading program.
“It’s a safe place for kids to be in the summer,” Blain said.
In recent years, the Evans Public Library District Board of Trustees has discussed moving into larger quarters. While there hasn’t been much discussion in recent months, the goal is still out there.
“The need is very much there,” Blain said. “The funding is not.
“We still have the need for more space and more parking, and we have a heating and air-conditioning system that’s antiquated,” she said, citing a few reasons for discussing a move.
Blain and the district board are always looking for grants that would help fund such a move.

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