Kearney Library Continues to See Visitors Despite New Technology


As technology progresses and more and more kids start picking up screens, some may think that checking out a paperback book at a library will become a thing of the past. Local librarians say they're keeping up with changing times and having a library card is still essential for most school kids.

The librarians say they think it's just a myth that's out there; they've seen a steady influx of readers coming in and don't think libraries are struggling at all.

"We got a library card for my daughter as soon as she was born just because we want our kids to be readers and it's a free resource. It's totally worth it," said Heidi LaClair, a mother who takes her kids to the library three to four times a week. "We come into the library and just scatter."

There's more to offer than just the traditional borrowing of books and movies.

"There is just always something going on,” LaClair said. “They have programming for toddlers, preschoolers and there is a separate room just for teenagers -- like you're not allowed to go in there if you're not a teenager -- my daughter loves that. She says ‘you can't come in here mom.'"

Kearney Public Library is proud to claim third in the state for busiest library.

"We see quite a few new people every month,” said Matthew Williams, director of Kearney Library. “I think last month we signed up 243 people since we have 40,000 card holders. That's pretty much everyone in Buffalo County if you look at it that way."

They have an average of 2,500 visits per year.

Now with easy access to the internet some may think libraries simply aren't necessary.

"There are a lot of publishers that won't allow books to be checked out or purchased on the Kindle so we have access for those you can't get from Amazon," said Sarah Haack, circulation coordinator at the library.

A recent survey found people want the library to be open on Sundays in the summer, so next year they plan to stay open every day.

"The library carries everything and we can help you find what you're looking for," explained Haack.

"There is nothing that compares to holding a book in your hand. When the power goes down the internet goes down, so you can still hold a book in your hand and read," said LaClair.

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month. During the month, people who open a new library account at Kearney Public Library will be entered into a drawing to win a book.

There will be an adult, teen and youth drawing each week in September. Only people opening new accounts will be eligible for the drawings.