Visitors to the Baker County Library will see several additions to a favorite work and reading area.
Last week workers installed six new shelving units in the children’s book section. The shelves were donated as surplus property from Concordia University in Portland.
Library director Perry Stokes said the library’s facilities manager arranged for a contractor to deliver and install the shelves.
The units were worth between $16,000 and $20,000. The library’s only cost was about $5,000 for transportation.
Stokes said one of the units was taken to the library’s Richland branch to increase its shelf capacity.
The previous shelves in the children’s section at the Baker City library, 2400 Resort St., had been in place since the building opened in 1970, Stokes said.
“For a small investment we were able to really upgrade the look in the room and I hope it will bring some excitement and more checkouts,” he said.
Stokes said he hadn’t planned to replace the shelves, but when Concordia offered the units he decided to take advantage of the opportunity. There are no plans to replace shelving elsewhere in the library.
“These units are offered periodically and we just try to take advantage of that when we see an opportunity,” Stokes said.
Missy Grammon, the library’s youth services coordinator, said the new shelving allows for a more efficient use of the children’s section.
“We had a lot of wasted space before,” Grammon said. “I think this is a better layout because now we have more room on the shelves.”
She is working to finish rearranging the area, including moving the children’s audio books where they can be easily found.
“I don’t think that a lot of people know we have kids audio books,” Grammon said.
She has also moved the Spanish collection where it is easier to find.
She plans to have the kids area finished before Thanksgiving.
Another recent change at the library is the addition of a self-checkout station, for books only, between the main desk and the children’s section.
“So far it’s gotten a good amount of use,” Stokes said of the self-checkout station, which was installed in early October.
The station didn’t result in any reduction of staff. It’s intended to give customers more privacy when checking out potentially sensitive material, Stokes said.
“In a small town people are familiar with each other and there might be some discomfort checking out a sensitive topic item with someone you might know across the desk,” Stokes said.
So far, 40% of self-checkouts are children’s books, 40% from adults, and 10% from young adults.
Equipment for the checkout station cost $800, Stokes said.
Elder Care Kits
These new products, available for checkout, are activity kits assembled by the Bookmobile staff for customers at the Senior Center. Each kit contains puzzles, CDs and picture books intended to stimulate brain activity for people with conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Stokes said he plans to rename the items Memory Care Kits.
“Any time they can exercise their brain and recall things is healthy for people that are experiencing these things,” Stokes said.
The library is also looking into adding a streaming service for movies and other programs. There is no launch date yet for the streaming service.
Stokes said each library card would have a certain number of usage credits per month. The number of credits is still under discussion.
Outside, Stokes said some exterior siding on the library will be replaced, along with the worn boards on the boardwalk section on the east side of the building.