UCPL, Gibson libraries detail plans to expand services, resources

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Public Library and the Charles W. Gibson library are hoping to expand their resources and services for the community.

Paul Norko, director of the Upshur County Public Library and Catherine Norko, director of the Charles W. Gibson Library, attended the May 18 Rotary Club of Buckhannon-Upshur meeting to update the members on upcoming changes and additions to their programming.

“We are trying to reach people of all ages, all reading levels and trying to get everyone to enjoy the reading and have a verified and trusted source of information,” Paul Norko said. “We’ve also started doing a few new things. Just recently, we started a hotspot lending program for mobile internet, and we also just restarted our in-person story times, although we’re doing those outdoors. Our first one was last Thursday, so those are every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. weather permitting, of course.”

Paul Norko said the Library Board recently designed a new five-year plan, with an emphasis on working with the Upshur County Board of Education.

“I really want to see every school-aged child have the ability to utilize and access the library; I want them all to have library cards,” Paul Norko said. “We’re also hoping to bring other technology, if we can get some sustainable funding, we’re hopeful to increase digital services that we provide, such as ancestry.com or tutoring.”

He also hopes to expand the selections at the Upshur County Public Library.

“What we’ve been buying is great, but not everyone reads the same thing, so we’re trying to find new authors, different topics that are timely and relevant to our patrons, because it’s really what the patrons want but I’m not a mind reader, so I don’t know what everyone wants,” Paul Norko said.

The Gibson Library has revamped their space since the initial lockdown transpired last year.

“When I started in 2019, we were having a difficulty with too many materials – we had books in the aisles, books in the walkways, books in crates and books in the windows,” Catherine Norko said. “If there was a new book, we probably had it, and it was a great feel for our library, because it feels like that bookstore that you go to, but it’s not so great with the fire department, so we spent the last year-and-a-half slimming ourselves down so now we can walk around the building and feel comfortable.”

She said her main goal since reopening was reconnecting with the community and offering programs in which local children would be interested.

“I have a neighborhood of school kids, and I think the very first day I was here, I watched all of them get off the bus and all of them just kept walking right on by the building, so I’m working on building collections and programs that will excite kids and bring them in, which we’re just now we’re getting ready to unveil in the next month or so,” Catherine Norko said. “We’re working on improving our computer public computers, as well as our internet access, too.”

She also announced that Gibson would offer its first summer reading program beginning June 14.

“I asked around and nobody could remember the last time we offered a summer reading program, so apparently we’ve been letting Upshur County (Public Library in Tennerton) do the work and get all the credit,” Catherine Norko said. “Their program is great, but what if you can’t get out to Tennerton? But now you if you can get out to Tennerton and you can come here – you can do both.”

Stay tuned to the UCPL’s Facebook page as well as the Charles W. Gibson Library’s social media.

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