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January 30, 2010

USER-FRIENDLY: NA-FC Public Library has added many new services



New Albany-Floyd County Public Library Director Steve Day could teach a class on doing more with less. He has become an expert on the subject over the past two decades.

Despite having his budget slashed $171,000 last year, and having just 44 workers to manage the 67 hours a week the building is open, Day has continued to make improvements and changes to make the library more user friendly.

“We want to meet the needs of the patrons. That’s what we strive to do,” Day said. “This is not a book warehouse. We want to get people the info they need and make it available.”

The recent improvements and changes can be noticed immediately when entering the front doors. There is a new circulation desk which is handicap accessible, and a self-checkout computer has also been installed on the top floor. A holding shelf to store reserved books has been constructed near the self-checkout stand.

“They can call and reserve a book, come in and checkout and be on their way,” Day said. “They don’t even have to go to the circulation desk.”

While the physical changes make the library more user-friendly, the new services offered help patrons meet other needs — including filling out job applications or filing for unemployment.

Near the Reference Services area on the first floor is a job center with three computers, which can only be used for those searching for work or filing for unemployment.

Reference Services Manager Paulette Gibbs, also said patrons are helped through the process if needed. There are also DVDs to help those sharpen interview skills and resume workshops hosted by library personnel.

While there is a time limit on other public computers in the library, the three in the job center have no restrictions.

“Some people come here who haven’t been without a job in 30 years, and many times we have to help them get started,” Gibbs said. “We bring them back here and explain how it works. Many times we have to set up e-mail accounts for them.”

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