By Greg Hunt
June 3, 2010 was when the Outreach Library made its first stop in Braham, bringing crates of books, DVDs and an in-town reconnect to the East Central Regional Library.
“Actually, the first time I came here I had quite a few people show up. In the summer I get more since daycare centers can have their children walk over,” said ECRL Outreach Librarian Lisa Kosin. “But since I started, it’s doubled in circulation here. Word of mouth is getting out there.”
The Outreach stops in Braham are every-other Thursday from 3-4 p.m. at Braham City Hall. The dates for the next few stops are: May 19, June 2, June 16 and June 30.
ECRL also operates Outreach Library stops on every-other Thursdays in McGrath, Giese and Duquette. Every-other Tuesday Outreach stops are held in Hill City, Jacobson and Askov. In addition, Link Library sites are operated every Wednesday in Isanti and every Saturday in Onamia.
The crates going to those sites are filled with a wide variety of selections: fiction and non-fiction books, children’s books for different levels, large print selections, audio books, westerns and movies.
“Every couple weeks, we change the selections, and I’m always adding new things. If I know on Thursday I have people who like this or this or this, I try to gear the selections that way,” said Kosin.
Requests for selections delivered to the Outreach site can be done in one of two ways. A list may be given to Kosin which will be filled for the next trip to the site. Or patrons can go online to www.ecrlib.org to get into the complete system.
“There’s a drop menu for reserved items going to any of the libraries, Outreach or Link sites,” continued Kosin.
“You can also request items from other library systems in the state through the MnLINK connection,” explained Vicky Sorn, ECRL’s Youth and Community Services Librarian. “The Outreach and Link concepts all came out of discussion on how we keep servicing patrons in our outlying areas that didn’t have a branch library.”
Kosin will offer ECRL’s “Summer Reading Program” for youth through the Outreach and Link systems. A special day in Braham will be Friday, June 10 when magician Brian Richards performs as part of the summer program. That show will held at 11 a.m. in the East Central Energy building.
“With Legacy funding, we’ve been able to treat Outreach spots like a branch, and let them have amenities such as this program,” said Sorn.
Filling a need
Braham Council member Lowell Jaques recalled how important it was to have a library connection in town, looking back at his days growing up there.
“Where the laundromat is was called The Service Center back in those days. Denowith and Julien had an insurance office there where they donated the space, and that was our library. Books rotated in and out of there,” he said. “I’m really happy to see the Outreach Library here. I think it’s really important that people have access to services like this. County Commissioner Larry Southerland was fairly influential in the effort to push this idea. It will take time to really develop I think as people further learn the availability is here.”
With the Braham Community Center construction moving forward, Jaques noted that building could be a good future home to the Outreach site since it is close to the schools. But the City Hall has its advantages being downtown, so any changes will be measured on how they affect patrons.
“Seeing our numbers grow here is always my goal. We offer real personal service, and hopefully we’ll just keep doubling our circulation numbers each year! That would make me happy!” exclaimed Kosin.