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Community leaders get 'geek-y' in new library campaign

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Carol Harris, member of McIver's Grant Public Library's board and Friends of the Library organization, has donated her talents to the library's ongoing Geek the Library campaign. Here, Harris snaps a portrait of Dyersburg Mayor John Holden as a part of the local emphasis to raise awareness on the many roles of the public library. Members of the Dyer County community participating in McIver's Grant Public Library's Geek the Library campaign will soon grace the Art Wall at the library. In the coming weeks, photos will also be published on the library website, in the State Gazette, in the windows of businesses throughout town and at www.stategazette.com.
The community room at McIver's Grant Public Library was recently transformed into a photography studio, with area leaders volunteering their images -- and their passions -- to promote the local library.

Photographer and Library Board member Carol Harris recently began a local tie-in to the national Geek the Library campaign with two photo shoots featuring community leaders and their interests.

"This whole campaign is to let people know how important the library is," said Harris.

"Involving these stakeholders in this Geek the Library campaign allows them to become more involved in supporting the local library," said McIver's Grant Public Library Director Regina Patterson.

Patterson said the program allows library personnel to cater the library's resources to the interests of the community. It may also be a way for patrons with the same interests to connect with each other and learn more about the subjects they are passionate about.

"We are continually trying to address the needs of our all patrons," said Patterson. "And to continue to strive to give the best service possible."

The national Geek the Library campaign is a promotion of OCLC, a non-profit library cooperative. Funding for the campaign is provided by a grant of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Geek the Library promotion transforms the word 'geek' into a verb: To love, to enjoy, to celebrate, to have an intense passion for; to express and interest in; to possess a large amount of knowledge in; to promote.

With the photo opportunity, residents are requested to confess what they 'geek.'

The answers may be surprising.

"Whatever you geek, serious or fun, the public library supports you," reads a flyer on the national campaign. "The public library inspires and empowers. With Internet access, knowledgeable librarians and local programs, it is an important resource to your community. And for millions of Americans, it is their only access to the essential resources they need to improve their lives. For many, the library is not a luxury, it is a necessity."

"We are trying to make the community aware of everything the library has to offer," said Harris. "You can get information on just about anything in the library. And, unlike Internet search engines, your librarian can help you find accurate information. Because of the state's Firefly interlibrary loan system, if we don't have the information in house, we can find out."

The campaign also highlights a nationwide problem: Public libraries are struggling.

"Many libraries are cutting staff, programs and hours," reads the Geek the Library promotional brochure. "Some are closing their doors forever. And even though usage has increased, funding is not sufficient to meet the need.

"So please, share what you geek," continues the flyer. "Share what the library does for you and your community. And spread the word that your public library needs everyone's support."

McIver's Grant Public Library has just celebrated its first year in its state-of-the art, handicap-accessible facility. With more space, more technology and more programming, Dyersburg's local library is able to offer much, much more to the community.

A capital campaign to transform an unused grocery store in Dyersburg's downtown district into a brand new library revealed the generosity of local industry, businesses, civic organizations and residents.

But the fundraising cannot stop with the building's grand opening.

Funds are desperately needed to continue to offer programming and serve as a resource in the Dyer County community.

And community leaders aren't the only residents offered a chance to get involved in the Geek the Library campaign.

Patrons, stakeholders and residents from all walks of life are invited to visit McIver's Grant Public Library, jot their name and passions on a 'Geek Board' and investigate the subjects that interest them.

"Lifetime learning is part of our mission statement," said Harris. "And we've got everyone from toddlers to senior citizens featured in this campaign."

Models for McIver's Grant Public Library's Geek the Library campaign will soon grace the Art Wall in the library, www.dyersburgdyercolibrary.com, the State Gazette newspaper, www.stategazette.com and various individual social media sites.

"Be watching to see who 'geeks' what in our community," said Harris.

Those interested in more information on the national Geek the Library campaign may visit www.geekthelibrary.org.

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is there something that doesn't call for the mayor's picture in the state gazette here on an election year??

-- Posted by closerlook on Thu, Feb 6, 2014, at 5:33 PM

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