Books and much more: Grand Island library provided 1.5 million resources in 2017

Amber Jones and her daughter use the computer at the Grand Island Public Library (NTV News)

The Grand Island Library raises funds to renovate without tax dollars, as librarians change to keep up with digital demands.

“OK, can you count to 20?”, Amber Jones says, pointing with her daughter.

In a book or on a screen – it would take a long time to count up all the resources the library offers. The library director conservatively estimates they provided 1.5 million services and resources in 2017.

Steve Fosselman said, “It's not just a simple matter of checking out materials, but it's all the other things that you can do in the library and on our website.”

That includes things like programs that encourage kids to explore their world, encouraging them to be lifelong learners, while also getting a grasp on literacy.

In all, Fosselman said they checked out 317,812 items.

“That's a very important part. We've got the book stacks to prove that but we also have a lot of programming and a big literacy effort for children, making sure every child's ready to read,” he said.

That includes Amber Jones’ four-year-old.

“We enjoy coming to story time, all the crafts and activities. My daughter was excited to learn about parachutes today,” she said.

The library drops kids into new worlds, but what about the bigger kids? They plan to break ground this summer for renovations that will include a makerspace for teens.

Fosselman said, “The art of making something is the ability to think, plan, work in concert with other people and come up with a concept that works, put it on a computer, and have that computer help you actually make the product.”

They're doing it without tax dollars. They started with a $700,000 gift and are raising more, towards a project with a total cost of more than $1.5 million.

“You'll be seeing a lot of changes in the library in the next year,” said Fosselman, the library director.

Things will change, but books will still be there for kids like Amber Jones’ daughter.

“She loves reading.”

They had hoped to have construction started at this point, but are still raising funds and now plan to break ground in July and finish construction by the end of the year.

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