NEWBORN - The people of the town of Newborn asked for a library, and they got one. They responded so enthusiastically that now, the town is getting its very own service outlet, with increased hours, programs and computer access.
A service outlet is a step up from the deposit collection the town currently has, and a step below a full-fledged branch library, Newton County Library Director Greg Heid said.
Deposit collections offer limited resources and typically contain between 150 to 300 books.
Newborn has had a deposit collection since at least 1994, though at that time it only occupied one shelf at the Childs Building, which also serves as Town Hall. The collection began growing around 2001, thanks to donations from Newborn residents, and the last book count was at 2,400.
Given that response, and the fact that the library serves between 120 and 150 people a month, it seemed like a service outlet was the next step.
"We wanted to respond to the people down there. They were really encouraging and enthusiastic over having a larger and larger deposit collection," Heid said.
Currently, residents check out books on an honor system, and a staff member is only on duty three hours a week.
Beginning June 4, library hours will change to 2 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays and from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays.
The new environment will be a bit more structured, said Leata Sears, Newborn's librarian and the assistant department manager of children's services/outreach at the Newton County Library.
While patrons previously chose their books, signed out on a notebook and returned the books when they were done, checkouts will now be logged into a computer, Sears said.
The library will also be part of the PINES system, meaning patrons will have access to books from other libraries throughout the state.
Sears said she plans to offer special programs on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings, such as story times and arts and crafts activities.
The library has two computers with Microsoft Office, where students do homework or residents sometimes type up resumes. The hope is to have additional computers and Internet access by July or August, Heid said.
This all sits well with Newborn resident Glenn Johnson, who loves reading western novels and visits the library two or three times a week.
"It means a lot to me because I'm semi-ambulant, and I can just walk to the library, check books out and walk back. It means a lot being right there in town. I like to read, so it suits me just fine," he said.
Service outlets are typically established for "pockets of people within a community that have a solid desire for more library services," Heid said.
Though there are no plans for a branch in Newborn at this time, it could happen in the future, he added.
"Service outlets can be a stepping stone to a branch ... If we have overwhelming success, the library board will look at that and alter the master facilities plan to look at putting a branch in that area," he said.
Crystal Tatum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.