Library News - Aug/Sept 2016
Dear Dothan Houston County Library System Patrons:

It’s almost a full year since I began my tenure as your Library Director and it’s been such an honor and a privilege to oversee public library service and get to know this stellar community. The Wiregrass is indeed one of the nation’s best kept secrets. As I am out and about meeting you all and talking more in-depth about library service, beyond the usual small talk questions about where I’m from (Toronto), and which of the 2 college football teams I'm required to support (still deciding), there are 2 most-asked questions I seem to have to field more often than any others:

1. Are public libraries still relevant in the age of ebooks, the Internet and Amazon?
2. Does the library still accept used book donations? 

I always answer both of these with a resounding YES

To answer the first question there is a wealth of information and academic studies that show how libraries unequivocally enrich lives, contribute to early childhood literacy, enhance education, fuel economic development, and support a higher quality of life in their communities. The return on investment in our new libraries speaks for itself as demonstrated by the high levels of actual patron use. Recently, I got up in front of both the City and County Commissions to provide a brief update on the library and presented some preliminary use/user statistics.

As you can see from the graphic below, in my first 8 months, a large segment of our total population are regularly using the new buildings. They are getting library cards, checking out materials, accessing our technology, attending our programs, using our meeting/study rooms, or just enjoying a quiet moment to themselves in these new community spaces.  An astounding 476,160 people have gone through our gates in 8 months. Libraries here in Houston County are vibrant and used. We are a community hub for all residents.
To the second question about used books, we indeed accept all donated material, with a few notable exceptions (see our Donations Policy). We promise that every used item we receive will find its way to a worthy home. These include:
  • Added to our collection
  • Put out on our daily used book sale shelves at Main and Westgate
  • Used for Dothan’s Little Free Libraries project
  • Forwarded to worthy local service agencies (e.g. Youth Diversion Center)
  • Sold through Amazon/Better World Books to support our Summer Learning Challenge
  • Sent to 3rd-World literacy causes
The Friends of the Dothan Houston County Library System generously volunteer their time and effort to maximize our used book donations in order to foster reading in our community, and to support library programs and operations. To that end, the Friends will be hosting used book sales at the Westgate Library. The next will be Aug 26-28.  See full event details HERE
This leads me to the issue of library support in general.  Membership in our Friends and used book sales only help up to a point. Public libraries today can only be as impactful as much as their communities are willing to invest their resources in them. If you get value from and/or believe public library service is an important part of life in Dothan/Houston County there are many other ways you can help. These include:

  1.Use the library regularly and tell your friends and family how you get value.
  2.Use AmazonSmile or iGive for your online purchases.
  3.Write directly to your local City/County elected officials asking them for their continued support.
  4.Buy a DHCLS branded Book Bag or Flash Drive.
  5.Purchase a Memorial Book Plate for an item in our Local History Room.
  6.Support/Sponsor our 2017 Summer Learning Challenge.
  7.Donate to our Long-term Sustainability Fund
  8.Buy a memorial brick for the library entrance.
  9.Host a fundraising event with the library as the beneficiary
  10.Leave a lasting legacy for your estate

Each of these activities will help to keep public library service operating and vital here in Dothan/Houston County.  I look forward to another great year.

Keep on Reading!

Jason LeDuc, MLIS
Library Director

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