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Dr. Greg Carter addresses Friends of the West Plains Public Library


Programs and purchase of circulation items were among the topics discussed at the most recent meeting of the Friends of the West Plains Public Library, held Monday at the library. About 25 officers, members, and other interested community members heard from the organization's officers and West Plains Public Library Director Dr. Greg Carter, who shared his vision for the library and talked about planned programs and building improvements and maintenance.

Friends of the Library asked for and were given approval by members to purchase a Blu Ray player, the cost to be reimbursed by the Community Foundation of West Plains, to be added to the Library of Things. Before the vote, Friends of the Library Treasurer Jenifer Collins mentioned there were library patrons that had Blu Ray discs as well as DVDs, and had requested a Blu Ray player. The item will be available for checkout for a week at a time, with a one-time one week renewal. The foundation also agreed to reimburse the purchase of a telescope for the Library of Things, and a quick charger.

Another purchase request that was approved was for a set of non-fiction children's books on American presidents that hadn't been updated since Bill Clinton was in office, Collins explained. The cost for the latest set is about $1,100, about $26 for each book, and $1,300 had been allocated in the budget to make the purchase. The books must be purchased by the set from the publisher, not individually.

Other mentions in the treasurer's report included proceeds from sales made specifically through the organization's new Square system, used for debit and credit cards, with about $90 in purchases made since that payment method was added. Friends of the Library has ongoing used book and merchandise sales to help fund its programs and purchases for the library, including the summer reading program.

About $400 was requested for the children's birthday book club and was granted. The club provides a bag with a book and prizes for children during their birthday week or month and there are about 30 participants a month, Collins said.

After introducing himself to the Friends of the Library, Director Dr. Greg Carter talked about the importance of the library and its community programs and his commitment to that, thanking Friends of the Library and the Community Foundation of West Plains for their financial and volunteer support, describing the services and educational materials the library provides as "a great equalizer" among West Plains residents, regardless of socio-economic status.

Improvements to the building that are ongoing are cleaning of the exterior by city work crews and landscaping, and Carter will make a request under the city's capital improvements budget to have the building's heating and cooling system replaced and leaks around the skylights repaired.

Carter added he also plans to restore library programming for adults and the Saturday morning children's program, and promised to help promote the organization and its goals in the community. He encouraged all to visit a link on the library's website, at www.westplainslibrary.org, to fill out a survey regarding the library and its use.

Other topics that were discussed were the teen room and genealogy room, with a proposal by Carter to the library's board of trustees to convert the teen room to a reading space or small conference room/work space because it hadn't seen much use for its intended purpose, but intended to restore the space some time in the future, hopefully with an attached library program.

Carter said his concern was that the room was mainly being used for playing video games, and he preferred to see that type of use for specific events and return the space during the day for reading or study.

Carter added the genealogy room would be preserved, and he is coordinating with the MSU-WP Ozarks Heritage Resource Center at the Garnett Library and the Harlin Museum to take stock of the materials each of them had so it would be available in at least one of those locations, examples being historical documents and periodicals.

Carter mentioned Lou Wehmer, president of the South Central Missouri Genealogical and Historical Society, had agreed to purchase an online West Plains Daily Quill, newspapers.com, and Ancestry.com subscriptions for use in the library's genealogical room.

Carter concluded the library had a great need for volunteers in various roles, including restocking shelves or leading story time activities on Saturdays. To learn about volunteering, call the library at 417-256-4775.