Centennial Article: Outreach

centernnial logo

When the Daniel Boone Regional Library stopped Bookmobile Service to Armstrong and New Franklin in 2002, Howard County Library Board members began planning an Outreach Program for people who had previously depended on the Bookmobile.   Outreach librarian Larry Harrington made his first official visits to the two outreach sites in January 2003.

In order to learn more about the needs of the two communities and to get a feel for the facilities available, the Library Board held its regular November meeting in Armstrong and the December meeting in New Franklin.  The city councils of Armstrong and New Franklin both made their City Halls available to the library.  Several years later when the Community Center was completed in Armstrong, the Outreach Library was moved to that building.  Both city halls and the Community Center are ADA accessible.

Board members developed a job description for the new outreach position and began a search for a qualified person.  The new librarian was responsible for selecting appropriate materials for the two sites and for developing methods to account for the materials transported.  Candidates were expected to have basic computer skills and an ability to work with the public.  

In December of 2002, the board hired Larry Harrington as Outreach Librarian, a position he held until his retirement in 2014.  During his tenure as Outreach Librarian Harrington developed a loyal following of patrons at each site. 

Changing technology required the board to reexamine the outreach program.  When the library joined the Evergreen Consortium, it became easier to request books on-line but more cumbersome to download the system files on a laptop using a modem as Harrington had been doing. 

In January 2015 librarian Chris Kloeppel took over as outreach librarian. She made her first visit to Armstrong on Feb. 4.  Thanks to Casey Imgarten of AirLInk, she has high-speed internet access in Armstrong which allows her to check out books on the computer and to help patrons search for books.  The board is looking for an efficient way of accessing the internet in New Franklin.  In the meantime Kloeppel keeps a record of materials New Franklin patrons check out and inputs this data upon returning to the library.

Outreach patrons are encouraged to use the library’s website to search for and place holds on books which Kloeppel will then bring to the outreach sites.

In addition to the two outreach sites, the librarians also reach out to patrons who are homebound by delivering books and other materials.  Persons desiring this service should call the library.  The library also supplies paperback books to the Howard County prison.