Douglas County Library is more than just books – Alexandria Echo Press | Wonder Mind Kids

DOUGLAS COUNTY – Libraries are no longer places where customers are silenced by an evil-eyed librarian. Instead, libraries these days — at least the Douglas County Library — are a neutral place where people come together.

Douglas County Library director Dawn Dailey said Douglas County Library is a place for everyone, a place for people to study, play, gather, study, meet friends, or even make new friends. She said it’s a place where people share ideas, recipes and favorite books to read, a place where people can share the success of their children or what’s happening with their family members.

Dawn Dailey

Yes, sometimes it gets a little noisy and maybe the librarians ask people to be a little quieter, but she said they very rarely have to do that.

“Libraries today are more than just books,” Dailey said. “There are e-books, computers, printers, newspapers, magazines, events and more. We want to be your one stop shop. You have to learn, we have you. You need to print something, we’ve got it. You need to scan some documents, we can do that. You need a State Park Pass, we have that too. We have everything.”

Young Adults Department

Douglas County Library has a new department for young adult books and other materials.

Lowell Anderson/Alexandria Echo Press

Dailey said libraries are as important today as ever and that the library provides spaces for multiple generations. She said that intergenerational play is not only fun, but also has numerous physical and mental benefits for both adults and children.

“Families need these comfortable, safe spaces to get together and play, and we provide that at the library,” she said. “Whether it’s playing on the big ‘Lite Brite’ in the children’s area or on the small interactive computers, we’re seeing more and more families playing together.”

Child plays with light board

Sunday Johnson plays with a new light panel in the children’s section of Douglas County Library on Wednesday November 16, 2022.

Lowell Anderson/Alexandria Echo Press

She said there are big jigsaw puzzles on the table too, and everyone stops by and adds a few pieces at a time – adults, teens and kids are all working on it.

The library also offers events and activities for children, young people and adults.

Sarah Weathern is the children’s librarian and hosts many events including story hours and a variety of children’s activities.

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Sarah weather

Dailey said Wethern does a great job with children’s activities and planning all events geared towards children.

The new youth area is new in the library.

“We’ve always had a small department, but we decided that teenagers should have their own space,” Dailey said.

The youth area has a new seating area with lounge chairs, cushions and rocking chairs. She said there’s a new dry-erase board for teens to leave messages on.

children's library

Kevin Boike helps his daughter Brilyn with a jigsaw puzzle in the children’s section of the Douglas County Library on Wednesday, November 16, 2022.

Lowell Anderson/Alexandria Echo Press

Melissa Wales is the teenage librarian and Dailey said she would soon be starting a teenage book club. Wales is also responsible for assembling teenage bags. Dailey explained that teenagers only have to fill out a questionnaire for the types of books they like and Wales will select the books to put in the bag and then teenagers can just pick them up.

“She has really great ideas,” Dailey said.

Yeisa Fredrickson is the adult librarian, and Dailey said she does a great job putting together adult events, including a book club that meets regularly, as well as many other programs. She said there are arts and crafts events, author events, painting classes, book folding classes and more.

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Yeisa Fredrickson

Dailey also noted that all activities and events planned at the library are either sponsored by the Friends of the Library group or Legacy Funds, or are budgeted for by the library.

When asked why the library has so much to offer, Dailey simply said it was to get people in the door.

“You get to know other people here,” she says. “It’s a place that brings people together.”

For those who don’t like all the hustle and bustle, the library also offers quiet places. Dailey said there are study rooms and other spaces available to people. And she said the library offers proctoring services for those who need someone to proctor an exam. There’s a small fee for that, she added.

Man reads newspaper in the library

Norm Anderson reads the newspaper on Wednesday, November 16, 2022 in the reading area of ​​the Douglas County Library in Alexandria.

When it comes to how many books are checked out from the library, Dailey said between 800 and 1,000 physical books are checked out every day.

In October, 21,782 media and 2,533 e-books were borrowed.

“That doesn’t include how many times the newspapers, magazines or other articles are viewed or flipped through but never checked out,” she said.

Dailey added that between 600 and 650 people come to the library every day.

“We’re pretty busy here in the library!” she said.

history of the library

Sarah Weathern, youth librarian, reads to children during a storytelling event at the Douglas County Library in Alexandria on Wednesday, November 16, 2022.

Lowell Anderson/Alexandria Echo Press

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