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E-book library comes to McKenzie County

Posted 2/10/15 (Tue)

By Amy Robinson
Farmer Staff Writer

As technology continually advances with virtually everyone enveloped in its grasp, it only makes sense that the McKenzie County Public Library would be making plans to launch its first-ever Library 2 Go program. The new program will offer residents with library cards the experience of renting e-books online from the comfort of their couch.
With a launch date in the near future, Crystal Slaughbaugh, the McKenzie County Public Librarian director, is urging McKenzie County residents to get a library card and be checking the library’s website for all  of the details associated with the upcoming e-book program, including an official start date.
I’m so excited for Library 2 Go because it will have such a huge collection of books, more than we have here in our physical library,” says Slaughbaugh. “Library 2 Go is going to be a collection of e-books online. Books will be lent out for two weeks, then will automatically drop out of each person’s e-library after that time. Patrons will be able to download an app called ‘Overdrive’ for this library. The entire process will be explained when people visit the library website (mckenziecounty.net) and click on the library portal link. And that is where they will find the book collection.”
The online selection of books will encompass every North Dakota library’s collection, that has implemented the same new e-book program. And to ease parents’ minds, each student that enrolls in the new e-book library will be subject to age-appropriate material, so kids won’t be able to access inappropriate books.
This is only the newest program to be added to a library that has taken the steps to keep on pace with a changing and growing population in McKenzie County.
“We are the only location in Watford City that offers computers specifically for job services,” says Slaughbaugh. “We already have three public computers for our patrons to utilize, but we added two additional computers in December, specific for job services. These computers, however, are always available and there is no time limit like our public computers have, which is an hour. But these computers can only be utilized for job service-related activities.”
When obtaining a free library card, residents have to show proof of residency. For some, this can be an obstacle. For those that can not get a library card, the library still strives to serve those patrons as well. The McKenzie County Public Library offers a Book Sale & Magazine Exchange program, in which you do not need a library card. Anyone can come in to the library and sell their gently-used books or magazines. If they don’t have books or magazines to sell, they can browse the selection and buy or trade.
“We take anything that is in decent condition, whether it is old or new,” says Slaughbaugh. “We will not take anything inappropriate, however. And if we already have the book in our library selection, those are the books we’ll sell, and it’s a really nice option for people. We sell books for as low as 25 cents to a dollar. I like that we have this service for patrons who can’t get a library card. And a lot of the people will buy the books, read them, and then bring them back to exchange for different books.”
For residents with library cards, they can check out up to 20 books, three DVDs, and three audiobooks at one time. Everything that is loaned out has a limit of two weeks and can easily be renewed by calling the library’s phone number - printed on their receipt, or by coming back into the library during open hours, before the two-week time limit. In addition, the library offers copying and faxing services for an associated fee. Also according to Slaughbaugh, the library is currently the only location in the county where taxpayers can come and print out their 1040 tax forms.
“We also have the bookmobile that I take out every other week,” said Slaughbaugh. “It’s been around for a very long time. There is a schedule that is posted and includes the times and places the bookmobile will be located for those that wish to visit it. And we really want to do something special on April 15, because that is National Bookmobile Day!”
Another program the McKenzie County Public Library offers is Storytime. For the month of March, Storytime will take place every Thursday at 11:30 a.m. The program is geared toward children, ages infant through pre-k, and their parent(s).
“It really is a wonderful program for the kids here,” says Slaughbaugh. “It’s not just reading - it’s singing and puppets, etc. It’s really meant to be an interactive story time where the kids have fun learning.”
The library also offers proctoring services, typically for college students. According to Slaughbaugh, students can call ahead to reserve the Sanford Room, where they can then come and have their test proctored. Students can bring in their own laptop, if their college allows, or they can use the library computer.
The Sanford Room is also available for community non-profit groups to reserve and utilize.
“The room is there for our community to use,” said Slaughbaugh. “It’s specifically for non-profit groups - groups that aren’t going to be charging people money. It’s free. People just need to call ahead to reserve it.”
All of the services the McKenzie County Public Library offer to the community come in large part from donations received from private and business donations.
“We’ve recently received a couple amazing donations,” said Slaughbaugh. “Donations from all over the U.S. have been showing up in honor of Vi Stenehjem’s Memorial, set up by her daughter, Lynn, for either the pre-school or the library. We’ve received easily over $1,500 so far, which is all going toward the children’s area in the library. And we also just recently received $2,000 from West Dakota Water. They wanted that money specifically to go toward bookmobile books. And that’s very exciting!”
Along with a handful of services and programs offered to McKenzie County residents, the library is continually looking toward the future and has high hopes and goals.
“I’d like to see us open more on the weekends and I’d like to see us eventually separate more the computer area from the rest of the library,” says Slaughbaugh. “I’d love to build our collection of books and offer more workshops. To see more activities taking place with more interaction from the community would be great. I’d also like to do more with our Hispanic population, and possibly offer some Spanish/English classes, both in the library and possibly online.”
“I think it’s so imperative to make the library a place our residents want to be and look forward to coming to,” said Kathy Skarda, McKenzie County commissioner and the McKenzie County Public Library Board’s commissioner. “We definitely need to look outside the box and see what’s going to make people want to come to the library. We want to make it a safe place. And I’d love to see the kids that are having difficulties, have another venue to turn to.”
For more information or to check out upcoming workshops, events, story times, reading programs, etc., Slaughbaugh would love for people to ‘like’ their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mckenzielibrarian or visit the library’s website at mckenziecounty.net, under the library portal link. The public can also call the library at 701-444-3785 or email librarian@co.mckenzie.nd.us.