Since the new Billings Public Library opened in January, Billings has been reading more, researching more and generally using its library more than ever before.
Nowhere is this surge in literacy more obvious than in the new children’s section where families with children have found a wonderful winter destination. Library visitors have been checking out far more items than they did at the old building.
Thousands of new library cards have been issued in the past two months, Library Director Bill Cochran said.
“Many of them are to young families, and demand for children’s books suddenly shot through the roof,” he said.
The library collection includes 43,000 children’s books and about 7,000 children’s DVDs, books on disc, e-books and music CDs. That’s 25 percent of all items in the new library, but it’s not enough for all the eager young readers.
Popular children’s series such as Berenstain Bears and Clifford flew off the shelves. Visitors to the new library quickly noticed more space than they had expected – empty shelves throughout the children’s section.
The voter-approved bond issue that built the library didn’t provide any additional money for operations or for library materials. So when demand for books and videos skyrocketed, some shelves went bare.
“We’ll be able to grow the collection with our normal acquisition process, but it will take some time, Cochran said. “We’re appreciative of anyone who’s willing to help us speed up the process with donations. Cash will allow us to buy new children’s books, and that’s best, because we can buy the popular titles we’re short on.”
The library just started a Books for Kids fund drive. As of this week, $250 had been donated and the library used it to buy books.
If you’ve ever enjoyed giving one kid a book, consider how much greater it would be to give a whole community of kids a book. Check the box below to see how to help with any donation amount you wish.