Warren County Public Library

Library reaches out to community with books, programs & more

submitted by the Warren County Public Library

There is nothing better than visiting the library on a hot summer day and losing yourself in a good book or magazine. But if you can’t make it to one our branches, the library will come to you.

It’s amazing how many people do not realize that the Warren County Public Library has numerous resources available through our outreach services department. Community Outreach Manager Monica Edwards personally understands the impact these services can have on individuals, especially children.

“I still remember the first time the book mobile visited my elementary school,” Monica said. “They pretty much had to drag me off. It was wonderful. Nice ladies who brought you books, talked to you about books, and let you stay on longer than you were supposed to – as long as you were reading. And they got to drive around in a truck filled with books and share them with everyone – I thought it was the coolest job. Years later, I actually ran into one of the librarians at a conference, and she remembered me! They had a huge impact on me.”

Monica’s enthusiasm for community outreach is apparent to anyone who meets her. She is always out in the county bringing the library to those who otherwise might not get a chance to visit a branch. Pop Up libraries are her passion.

“Pop Up Libraries are when we go out into the community – to playgrounds, city parks, neighborhoods, apartment complexes, trailer parks – and provide literacy programs like Reading and exercise and art programs like Movement and Art,” Monica said. “Most importantly, we provide books and comic books that the children get to keep forever. There is nothing better than putting a book or comic in the hands of a child.”

Community programs are also family affairs. “Providing programs and opportunities for families to learn and grow together, that’s pretty amazing, too,” Monica added. “We also have offsite programs and presentations for all ages, trainings, special events; generally, we can create a program tailored to anyone’s needs.”

When asked what people are most surprised to learn about community outreach services through the library, Monica is quick to answ

er – “That it’s free! And books and programs are just the beginning of what we have to offer. We have movies, music, audios, and also a wealth of online services and databases people can use.”

Community outreach programs are not just for children. There are resources for all ages that can be explored online. “Our online Small Business Reference Center is just one example,” Monica said.

If someone is interested in learning a new language, returning to school or seeking employment, the Warren County Library has you covered. “Mango Languages is another online resource,” Monica explained. “We have over 70 languages a person can learn. ACT prep, GED practice tests, resume building – all are available online.”

Last year, approximately 67,000 community resource items were checked out by patrons and the number is growing. “All you need is a library card,” Monica added.

When asked what some of her favorite experiences have been as the outreach manager, Monica is quick to respond with several stories, but they all come back to the children of Warren County.

“One of my favorite Pop Up library stories happened at the end of the day after doing community programs,” Monica said. “ I was heading back to the library and had one box of comics left. I saw a group of ESL summer school children on a playground. I pulled over and asked the teachers if the kids could pick out some comics. One by one they lined up and when the comics were all gone. I began talking to the teachers. All of a sudden it was really quiet. We turned to look and every single child had sat down on the edge of the playground and was reading their comic books.

“These were kids still learning English,” Monica said. “. They had been inside all day and this was their recess time. And yet every single one of them, with no prompting from us, sat down to read.”

For more information about community service programs available in your area, contact Monica at monicae@warrenpl.org or 270-781-4882, ext. 224.