New Looks for Books – what local libraries are doing to keep people engaged

By Tori Bailey

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Photo credit: Darrell Everidge

Antiquated. It is foreseeable how this word could be used to describe the status of libraries. Search engines have made research or locating information instantaneous through the internet. Books can be downloaded within seconds. Who needs a library with all the technology, ease of access to information, and electronic devices. However, the four libraries located within Walton County have embraced the changes with technology and are finding ways to remain relevant within the community. “Libraries have changed significantly over the years and have tried to keep up with the ever-evolving technology.” Amy Hicks, manager of the Walnut Grove Public Library, has been a part of the Walton County Library System for ten years.

These changes can be seen through the availability of computers, electronic devices, access to digital media, databases, software programs and a virtual library system. “We offer sixteen public laptops, three iPads, and four Nabi children’s tablets.” Amy continued to explain that the iPads and Nabi children’s tablets could be checked-out with a library card and valid driver’s license.

Rick Vetsch, manager of the O’Kelley Memorial Library in Loganville, explained how offering computer service aided residents seeking employment, “Since there is no Department of Labor close we have many people using our computers to search for employment.” Rick has been the manager of the O’Kelley Memorial Library for the past fourteen years and came with a computer background in technology and support management. During his tenure, the library has increased it number of computers from six to 20.

The Job and Career Accelerator is one of the many features offered by the Georgia Library of Learning Online (GALILEO). Developed through the University of Georgia, GALILEO is the gateway to databases, legal and tax forms, language learning software, tutorial software, Ebooks, and Music downloads. A few of the databases include: genealogy like Ancestory.com, Encyclopedias, Periodicals and Journals. MANGO, the language software, offers up to seventy-two different languages. eBooks and music downloads are available through Freading and Freegal.

For the full story on what libraries are doing to keep patrons engaged, click or tap on this list for the article in the latest issue of Walton Living Magazine by Tori Bailey, or pick up a print issue of the magazine at any city hall or library in Walton County or at the Walton County Chamber of Commerce.

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