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Book it to the library

Winter Reading Program underway in Worthington, Adrian

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WORTHINGTON — In 2019, Nobles County Library patrons used their library cards to check out more than $1.1 million in materials from the Worthington library, while the Adrian Branch library loaned out nearly $166,000 worth of items during the same 12 months.

This is the first year the library has included, on patron receipts, the value of items checked out during their visits. Seeing how much library materials cost is helping the public to see the overall value in their library.

Four months during the year — January, June, July and August — showed the cost of circulated items at more than $100,000. The higher circulation numbers correlate to summer reading programs and the annual Winter Reading Program, which kicks off Wednesday.

This week, the Plum Creek Library System and its member libraries across southwest Minnesota will celebrate the start of the 2020 Winter Reading Program, “Snow is Falling, Books are Calling.”

Open to individuals ages 16 and older, the program runs Jan. 1 through March 31. Each participant must register at their local library and obtain a card to track their reading progress.

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Those who read 12 books (printed, electronic books or audio books) during the contest will receive a prize when they return their completed reading card by the end of March. The Nobles County Library is offering a choice of a candy bar or coffee mug for completing the reading challenge, and completed cards are then also entered into a grand prize giveaway.

“Last year we had 114 people that completed their punch card,” said Myra Palmer, circulation and technical services coordinator for the Nobles County Library. “We had a lot of people sign up last year, but not everyone completed (the card) or forgot to hand it in.”

On the other hand, some participants will complete up to four or five cards during the contest. While the reader only receives one prize, there is often a competition between the member libraries to see who had the greatest participation.

The Nobles County Library in Worthington has more than 71,500 items available for patrons to check out, with access to nearly 676,150 items through the Plum Creek Library System. In addition, readers who prefer to download books to their devices can find more than 5,500 titles through OverDrive (Libby), and another 8,500 titles through rb digital. Both services are available on the library’s website, nclibrary.org.

“If you have a library card, we can borrow things from anywhere in the state of Minnesota, and we can get things from other states, too,” shared Palmer. “There’s so much published nowadays that we can’t own everything. The graphic novels or Manga stories people want to read, so we order them.”

“A lot of times it’s to finish a series, like if we’re missing a book,” added Laurie Ebbers, reference librarian.

The Nobles County Library traditionally has a high number of e-books checked out by patrons through OverDrive/Libby and rb digital, both of which can be accessed on personal devices such as tablets, laptops, desktop computers or smartphones.

Palmer said anyone who may have a new device, or wants to add the app to their existing device, is welcome to stop in at the library to learn about the digital access.

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“E-book checkout is 250-300 per month, usually,” said Palmer. “We had the highest circulation for several years.

“I think what most people found is they still prefer to hold an actual book,” she added.

More than books

While reading and reference materials and computer access comprise a large share of what the Nobles County Library offers to patrons, there's much more available in its lending library.

For instance, people can use their library card to check out cake pans for a week at a time. A binder at the checkout desk shows images of each of the 175 pans available at the local library, and if a particular pan isn’t at Worthington, chances are it could be somewhere within Plum Creek’s collection of more than 680 pans, referenced in the online catalog. The Plum Creek Library System is the only one in the state with cake pans in its collection, Palmer said.

In addition, patrons can check out music CDs, DVDs and puppets, make photocopies, send and receive faxes and scan documents for email use.

Audio books, large-print books, six area newspapers, more than 50 magazine subscriptions and sections offering non-English books in both the children’s and adult collections are also available at the Nobles County Library.

The largest share of non-English books are written in Spanish, and Palmer said they are well used. There's also a small selection of adult books written in Vietnamese and Korean.

Genealogy database offered

The Nobles County Library offers the library version of Ancestry, an online genealogy database popular among researchers of family history.

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“You can search census, immigration — anything that you can on Ancestry,” said Ebbers. “We can get them started, give them some basic information, help them do a search. We can’t help do their genealogy for them.”

“We have a lot of people who come in monthly and do research,” added Palmer.

The genealogy program is available on any of the library’s public computers, or through its wi-fi.

“Along with genealogy, we have microfilm of the Nobles County papers back to 1874,” Ebbers said, noting that a recent grant from the Minnesota Historical Society helped fund the purchase of microfilm editions of The Globe from 2010 through 2015. From 2015 to present, the library has the actual print editions of the newspaper.

In addition to being well-used by local patrons, Ebbers often does research on microfilm for out-of-state requests, such as genealogists seeking an obituary or information about a family member.

“Also, we can order microfilm from any of the Minnesota towns through an inter-library loan,” Ebbers said. “There’s no charge if it’s in Minnesota.”

The Nobles County Library is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. The library is closed on federal holidays, including New Year's Day.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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