Pop-up library locations available this summer

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Library system testing new concept

For residents who do not live near a library, or are just too busy to get to one, pop-up library locations are coming to areas in Barry County this summer.

The pop-up library will have a variety of items to browse through and borrow. There will be information about the library system, the summer reading club, crafts and story time sessions. There will also be opportunities to play games and win prizes.

Reminiscent of the by-gone bookmobile era, the mobile pop-up locations will be in predetermined locations in Barry County on Mondays in June and July, weather permitting.

"We were looking at what we wanted to do for summer reading, and I kept telling my staff that I keep hearing about these pop up restaurants," said Gina Milburn, director of the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library system, who works out of the Monett branch. "It's one night and they test something and I asked, 'Why can't we do something like that with the library?' It's sort of morphed. We decided to test it for a couple months over the summer."

"What they're wanting to do is go to communities where we don't have a branch, the underserved part of Barry County," said Verna Fry, youth services, at the Cassville library branch. "In a way, it sort of reminds of the old time book mobile. We won't have one in Cassville because we have a branch library. It is for locations that don't have a branch close by."

The mobile library will be available for two hours at an outdoor location on Mondays.

Residents may borrow a maximum of two items per person, and can return items at the next pop-up library, or to their closest branch location by the end of the summer.

Anyone can borrow materials like books, DVDs or magazines.

Residents can return the borrowed items, or swap a like-new item for the item borrowed. A library card is not needed, and there are no overdue fines.

The pop-up library will be available on Mondays, weather permitting, at the following Barry County locations:

* Butterfield Stage Stop on Highway 37: 2-4 p.m. on June 29, July 13 and July 27.

* Reavisville First Baptist Church at 23029 State Road T: 10 a.m. to noon on June 29, July 13 and July 27.

"We wanted it to be available for customers whether they have a card or not," Milburn said. "We don't have a way to do a live check-in, so we wanted to make it as simple as we could. If we can't do anything with electronics, what's the the point of having a library card?"

The pop-up library will also have activities for children.

"We were already thinking if we had two or three kids that showed up, we'll do a story time on demand," she said. "We also have crafts and will be doing some drawings for little prizes."

Milburn said the return policy is based on an honor system, and is flexible.

"The items do have stickers asking them to be returned and we'd like to have them back so we can replenish our supply," she said. "But, if they want to bring two other books back to us instead, that's fine. It's just a test. If it's successful we will continue until it's cold enough that we can't do it any longer."

Milburn said the process to set up the libraries was simple, and did not impact costs.

"We'll be using the library van, a tent and donated material," she said. "We already have a budget for our travel, so other than buying a few materials like the tent and some chairs, it's really not costing us anything. The materials that we're using were donated to us. So our start-up cost is pretty minimal.

"We applied for a grant this summer and hired a person to help with the summer reading program, so we've got someone who's working specifically for the pop-up library and other summer activities as needed on a temporary basis."

Milburn said she hopes down the road, the concept will develop into something more permanent.

"I don't see us needing a bookmobile service like we used to have, but I can certainly see us using this in more locations," she said. "The nice thing about mobile services is you can be anywhere. We know in this day and age, we need to be out and about in the community providing services. People are busy.

"I also see it as an opportunity to do outreach in the community and the people who can't come to the library itself in the physical building. We want to be out there and reach our customers not just sit in our building."

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