Local libraries celebrate National Library Outreach Day

QUAD CITIES (KWQC) – The range of resources at a library is wider than people might think. National Library Outreach Day gives the bundle of library programs that are less obvious their time to shine.

“Our mission here at Moline Public Library, it means we’re going to provide lifelong resources for learning, we’re going to connect community and hopefully transform lives,” said Lisa Powell Williams, the Adult and Young Adult Services Coordinator at Moline Public Library. “I think outreach looks different in each community because the public library ought to be looking at what its particular community needs.”

For example, Moline Public Library works closely with Arc of the Quad Cities, hosting performances and book clubs for people with disabilities. Eventually, that partnership meant the library became a drop off point for Arc’s MLK Day Food Drive, a tradition that continues next week.

“We turned out to be, I think, their best producing site for that,” said Powell Williams. “We certainly hope to do that again. And we certainly invite our patrons to bring in those typical food drive needs. ”

Other libraries are taking their own creative approaches to fill community needs, like Rock Island Public Library’s book mobile.

“Outreach is getting out to the people. For those who can not come to the library, especially, especially homebound. ” said Carol Anne Chouteau, Public Services Coordinator at Rock Island Public Library.

The bus is out bringing books 5 days a week, making one to three stops a day. locations include local churches, businesses, and schools. It also had a special use during the height of the pandemic.

“We were able to make it a roving Wi-Fi stop,” said Lisa Lockheart, Publicity Liaison at Rock Island Public Library. “And so in that period where people really, really needed a connection, to do homework, to do remote work, whatever it was, we were out there, providing that mobile Wi-Fi symbol.”

The outreach does not end with the bus though, Rock Island also has debt forgiveness programs that clear fines from kids’ library cards. Donations cleared 42 kids to check out books again in 2021.

“Because whenever we can, we want to try to eliminate barriers to using the library.” said Lockheart.

You can find more information, like available programs and the book mobile’s schedule, on the Rock Island Public Library website and the Moline Library website.

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