One of 14 branches in the Southeast Arkansas Regional Library system, the Monticello Branch Library offers a variety of services and resources to the community. From standard library services to charity and educational work, Monticello’s public library is a great resource for the town and campus community.
The library provides a fax machine at 50 cents per page, a coin-operated copy machine at 15 cents per page and a printer at 10 cents per page. The library also provides 11 computers to the public. Last year, they received five new computers from the Gates Foundation’s grant for low-income libraries to receive public access to computers and the Internet.
“It’s a great program and very beneficial,” Branch Library Manager Nona Dumas said. “Each branch now has at least one computer with Internet access. It’s really great.”
Patrons can check out most of library’s 65,000 items with a library card. To obtain a card, the patron must supply a bill mailed within the last month and a driver’s license with the same address. If the patron does not have a driver’s license, a picture identification card and two pieces of mail will work.
The library is currently in the process of signing up patrons for new bar-coded library cards. With the new library cards, if a patron has overdue books or fines, they will have to settle their account before checking out any other materials.
Patrons are fined 10 cents per day for overdue materials; however, the maximum fine for a late item is $5. Patrons can check out up to five books for two weeks, up to five audio books for one week and up to three videos for three days. The library has an online catalog which provides circulation information for the entire Southeast Arkansas library region, available at http://www.youseemore.com/seark/.
The library features over 5,000 movies and 2,000 audio books as well as large print books, reference, Arkansas and periodical sections. The periodical section includes bound copies of the Advance Monticellonian from 1966-1998 and local newspapers from Bradley, Chicot, Desha, Drew and Lincoln counties, all of which are in the Southeast Arkansas Regional Library system.
The children’s section provides a large collection of books and movies and a sitting area with small tables and chairs. The library uses a color system on the children books, so even children who cannot read can find and replace books. The library uses the Dewey Decimal system for other sections such as the juvenile and adult fiction and nonfiction books.
The library also features the Perpetual Book Sale, which provides patrons with a large variety of books for sale. Through community donations, the Perpetual Book Sale supplies hardback books for 50 cents and paperback books for 25 cents. The library donates books that will not sale to the prison systems. Pine Bluff’s Cummings Prison distributes the books throughout the state to other systems.
As well as providing reading material for the prison systems, the Monticello Library also participates in a summer reading program for children ages three to 12 years old. A collaborative effort of 41 states, the program provides high-quality reading materials for children at the lowest possible cost for public libraries.
Beginning June 12, the six week program takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays with the three to six year old age group attending on Tuesdays, and seven to 12 age group attending on Thursdays. The program provides a place for children to read stories, make crafts and have social interaction while school is out of session. The library also gives the children a small prize each day. The program will feature Brian Kinder, a Little Rock resident who performs musical shows for children.
Last year, the Friends of the Library group provided 22 new books, entertainment by Brian Kinder, the small gifts and supplies for crafts for the Summer Reading Program. The Friends of the Library also purchased 12 computer chairs, four computer carrels and a rug for the children’s section. They also supplied funds for repairs and renovations around the library, such as reupholstering chairs and putting in new carpet.
The Friends of the Library’s sole purpose is to further the interests of the Monticello Branch Library. They hold one fundraiser every February called Chocolate Extravaganza, which pays for Internet service for the entire year. The library sells $5 tickets until Feb. 13 for boxes of homemade chocolate candy. The boxes are available for pick-up Feb. 14. The group will resell all boxes not picked up by 4 p.m.
“The beauty of the fundraiser is that so little goes towards expenses because of the volunteer work,” Dumas said. “Of your $5, about $4.99 goes to the Friends of the Library.”
Persons interested in joining the Friends of the Library can pick up an application at the front desk in the library. The group holds one annual meeting and sends out a fall and spring newsletter. Membership fees vary from $1 to $100. The library also accepts non-member donations.
The library also tries to raise money by selling memorials. The patron can select a book, and the library will place a bookplate in the book noting the name of the honoree and/or the name of the donor. These bookplates can also be used to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and graduations.
“I feel very strongly that this community needs to focus more on their library,” Dumas said. “We have so many things to offer to this community. Unfortunately, we’re limited with our funds, and we’re desperate for a new library.
According to Dumas, the library is in need of space for parking, library materials, storage, computers and meeting rooms. They have architectural plans and the land for a 20,000 square-foot building; they just need the money to begin building.
“I think the library has everything you need to improve yourself, help your neighbors, and better your life,” Dumas said. “I don’t think enough people take advantage of what we have to offer them, but I wish they would.”
Those interested in taking advantage of the Monticello Branch Library’s services can go to the library Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., or call 367-8583 for more information.
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ŠThe Voice 2006
Revised 10/29/2007 04:20:25 PM — http://www.uamont.edu/organizations/thevoice/4_16/public.htm