GALION — Whether it be traditional books, ebooks, movies or a metal detector — yes, a metal detector — Galion Public Library has something to offer everyone in the community.
The Galion library was founded in 1901 and was originally housed in a small log cabin, which is now located in Heise Park. The current library building at 123 N. Market St. dates from 1904. In 1990, the building was expanded to create more room for the growing facility.
Library Director Vicki Eckenrod is proud to be at the Galion library. She has been the director for the past 12 years.
“We’re more that just books,” she said.
That is an understatement, as nearly anyone’s interests, including information to help in finding a job or applying for unemployment can be found at the library. There are even apps people can download to their smartphones to connect with the library and its catalog.
There are a multitude of activities for preschoolers to adults, and for tweens and teenagers, too. The library strives to cater to all library card holders. Eckenrod said there are currently 13,000 library users.
“And the population of Galion is just 10,000,” she pointed out.
In 2018, she said, there were 114,000 regular books and ebooks checked out.
Sifting through the many offerings at the library, Eckenrod explained a few more opportunities in detail.
“A lot of people just think of the library … well, it’s not just ‘the library’ anymore,” she said. “Our circulation system is hooked into 12 other libraries and you can borrow from these 12 different libraries. We also have the ability to borrow from other libraries across the state.”
She said there also is the Ohio Digital Library, where people get ebooks and what they have on that website, as well. The library website address is www.galionlibrary.org.
Eckenrod also is very proud of the library’s Books on Wheels Program for people who can’t get to the library.
“It could be they just broke their leg and they can’t come out. We have a system where we’ll bring books out to you,” she explained.
She added that library staff can help people on one of the 10 computers that are hooked up to the internet in various ways. She said some people come in who have to file for unemployment, but don’t know where to begin. The library can help with that.
“The only way you can do that now is online,” Eckenrod said. “And some people don’t have computers at home or have even used a computer.”
“We also keep a list of community meals and food pantries,” she said. “We have mobile hotspots that we lend out.”
Eckenrod said the hotspots can be borrowed for up to two weeks.
“We also have people who come in and look for jobs,” she noted. Job-seekers can access the Ohio Means Jobs website. Again, she said staff can help them get started on their job search, and even help patrons get their e-readers hooked up for ebooks.
Apps, including the “COOL” app allows patrons to control their library accounts from their phone. They can use this app to show their library card when checking items out, they can view and renew checked-out library materials and search for materials from the 12 different COOL member libraries.
Both of these apps require a library card and library staff can help patrons get started.
Eckenrod said their is an exciting new opportunity with LYNDA Learning. Ohio’s public libraries have recently partnered with LinkedIn Learning to allow their patrons to access free online education courses at lynda.com … with a valid Ohio library card. Courses range from basic PC skills, Microsoft Office Suite, resume creation, how to code, along with several other valuable educational courses.
Another opportunity for patrons to check out are activity kits. These kits include a baking kit, a blood pressure kit, coloring kit, a metal detector, a gardening kit, an ice cream machine, an Orion starblast telescope, a tool kit, a pumpkin carving kit and even a snow cone machine. These kits can be checked out for one week at a time.
“I had one lady come in and borrow the ice cream kit and she liked it so much she went out and bought one of her own,” Eckenrod said.
There is is also a monthly calendar that can be accessed online or at the library, which lists all the activities for the month.
Coming up in February there are game nights for adults and teens, story times for preschoolers and toddlers, a teen book chat, as well as an adult book chat. Eckenrod said on Monday, Feb. 17, Abraham Lincoln will be at the library walking around and later in the evening present a program. There are two movie nights planned at the end of the month, including one for adults, which is movie about Harriett Tubman and Frozen 2 for the younger crowd.
To get a library card, Eckenrod said adults 18 and over must have a picture ID and proof of address. Minors (5-17) must have the ability to write their own name and have a parent or legal guardian come in with their picture ID and proof of address or a valid library card.
The library is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Anyone with additional questions about any materials or programs may call the library at 419-468-3203.
Galion Public Library is more than a big collection of books. It has computers available for patrons of all ages. It is connected to other libraries courtesy of available apps. There is even help available for those seeking jobs or others who lost a job and need to sign up for unemployment benefits.
Vicki Eckenrod has been director of Galion Public Library for 12 years. The services and products are available to patrons grows almost daily. This telescope can even be checked out.
The children’s room at Galion Public Library is spacious, sunny, comfortable and even includes one big furry friend.