Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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April 5, 2009

HOT SPOT: Library offers more than just books

Videos, DVDs, CDs and e-books are all available to patrons

The first local public library opened in a room at the Kokomo Normal School in 1885.

It has come a long way since then.

Before the days of television, radio, Internet and MP3 players, the library was the place Americans turned to for reading material and knowledge.

The means of providing that information has changed, but the mission remains the same.

Charles Joray, director of the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library, said the library not only provides materials to be checked out, but patrons can also obtain e-books via the Internet. Programming is also available for children, teens and adults.

The programming includes movies and story-telling for children.

Joray said 30 percent of the items checked out from the library in 2008 were audiovisual materials, leaving 70 percent for books.

“People are checking out more audiovisual materials, but the number of books being checked out is increasing,” he said. “There has been a 24 percent increase in the number of books being checked out in the last 10 years.”

Patrons can check out books on tape, CD or as MP3 files.

The Genealogy Department, a major source of local history, helps those wanting to trace their family history.

The Kokomo-Howard County Public Library serves the eight western townships in the county, which includes the Kokomo-Center, Taylor, Western and Northwestern school districts.

Greentown has its own library system, which serves residents in the Eastern school district.

“There is more demand for our services,” Joray said.

The library board is moving forward with plans to renovate the main branch in downtown Kokomo.

The project is expected to cost between $3.4 million and $4.4 million. Work is anticipated to be completed by 2010.

Ken de la Bastide can be reached at (765) 454-8580 or via e-mail at ken.delabastide@kokomotribune.com

If you go:

• WHAT: Kokomo-Howard County Public Library

• WHERE: Main Branch, 220 N. Union St., Kokomo; South Branch, 1755 E. Center Road, Kokomo; Russiaville Branch, 315 Mesa Drive, Russiaville.

• HOURS: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 to 5:30 p.m. Sundays from Labor Day to Memorial Day.

• ON THE WEB: www.kokomo.lib.in.us

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