Lowndes County boasts 3 public libraries offering services, resources

Published 6:11 pm Wednesday, January 4, 2023

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Lowndes County boasts three public libraries available to citizens free of charge, providing books and much more to citizens willing to explore the options.

“We do summer reading and have done two workshops about ancestry, showing participants how to use the computer to learn more about their families,” said Lowndes County Public Library Director Rutha Davis-Bonner. “We help people who come in how to use a computer, if needed, and we also teach them how to print. They can learn how to print from their phone without using a computer.”

The library charges a small fee for printing — 25 cents for black and white, $1 for color, and will also fax documents for a small fee.

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Lowndes County native, Annie Sullivan, enjoys services available at the library.

“It’s a nice place,” Sullivan said. “I come here to use the fax service from time to time.”

According to Davis-Bonner, citizens can connect to library Wi-Fi free of charge even outside of office hours.

“Even when we’re not open, they can park outside and still pick up the internet,” she said.

During the summer, through most of June and part of July, the library hosts a summer reading initiative, based on a theme assigned by the Alabama Public Library system.

The program invites children to read books to meet goals based on their age. Towards the end of the program, children who reach the benchmark can attend a program to celebrate the accomplishment with a party, guest speaker, or hands-on activity to fit the theme.

“We say, ‘If you read this many books, we will give you a prize,’” Davis-Bonner said. “Before COVID-19, we did something at the end of the six-week period. For the past two years, we pulled away from that because we didn’t have many kids coming here. We began partnering with the Student Tutoring and Enrichment Program, and they brought the kids to me for summer reading after STEP.”

The White Hall Public Library also hosts a summer program, where participants learn about information related to the annual theme.

In 2022, children from Jackson Steele Elementary School attended activities and learned information about the chosen theme, Oceans of Possibilities, and hearing from representatives of the Alabama Department of Archives and History and other agencies.

Davis-Bonner said many Lowndes County residents express interest in learning about their families. Carolyn Parker and Helen Phillips, who organize the libraries’ Alabama Room, offer classes on researching ancestry and provide resources related to county and state history too.

“We try to host two workshops a year,” Davis-Bonner said. “We show them how to do research on their own as well.”

Davis-Bonner hopes to begin offering computer classes in the future to supplement individual efforts to guide patrons in using the facility’s public computers.

The Lowndes County Public Library has computers for sale, after replacing existing terminals with newer computers. Individuals interested in purchasing a computer may contact Davis-Bonner at (334) 548.2686.