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Front Page » January 8, 2008 » Local News » Helper mayor, council explore options to improve city's l...
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Helper mayor, council explore options to improve city's library

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Sun Advocate reporter

Jessyca Martin, age 8, kicks back to catch up on her reading in the children's section at the Helper City Library.

Helper officials heard plans for the town's library at last Thursday's council meeting.

Councilmember Dean Armstrong and library director Amanda Holley outlined the process they are undertaking to get the library re-certified by the state.

Armstrong explained that obtaining the certification will allow Helper to apply for grants that can be used for technology upgrades or furniture.

"We need to form a library board by March 31," said Armstrong, indicating that the board was the key to completing the process.

The councilmember appealed to his colleagues for assistance in recruiting new board members.

"We have to establish a board with five to seven members and quorum of three," said Armstrong.

Mayor Mike Dalpiaz volunteered himself and Councilmembers Kirk Mascaro and John Jones to come up with one name each. Mascaro was not at the Helper City Council meeting on Jan. 3.

Armstrong said the structure of the board would be geared so as not to overtax its members.

"We can have just three meetings a year so we don't burn people out," he said.

Along with a new board, the library's administrative infrastructure will undergo a rigorous reorganization that will include a set of bylaws by which it should be governed.

The councilmembers were also tuned into the discussion of expanding the role and presence of the town's lone branch that accompanied the presentation on the certification process.

"We are on the way to making the library a real community resource," said Armstrong.

Apparently key to the overall renewal process is Holley, who earned kudos from the mayor and Helper council members Thursday.

"That Amanda is fantastic," said Dalpiaz.

Watching Holley operate in her work environment, it's difficult to picture the determined young woman as being in the last year of her teens.

With an energetic 8-year-old patron on her heels, Holley managed to answer the telephone, guide another patron on a computer and give an overview of the library's offerings without skipping a beat.

Holley started with the city last May when she was hired as an assistant librarian.

Holley said she thought something might be up when Tawnie Via, who was the librarian at the time, starting teaching her a lot more than she thought she would have to learn.

"About three weeks into the job, Tawnie told me she was leaving and she wanted me to take her position," said Holley.

Admittedly flying at times by the seat of her pants, Holley said she dug in to learn everything she could about the library and how to make it shine.

The library already has four computers with Internet access that is open to public, fax and copy services and a variety of reading programs.

In addition, the facility will be getting wireless hub service for residents who need a place to use laptop computers.

Holley wants to add tutoring programs to help children after school and upgrade the book selections.

"I try and order as many books as I can for patrons so that we can update our choices," said the library director.

Holley indicated that she has taken it upon herself to grow the non-fiction area in the library.

"I pick non-fiction titles at random trying to figure out what we need in here," said the library director.

Holley said the newest addition to the non-fiction collection is the Who's Who in the JFK Assassination.

While the present library may not be as spiffy as it will be, the facility is till the favorite place for Jessyca Martin, an 8-year-old Sally Mauro Elementary School student who drops in everyday.

"I talk to Amanda, play games and read lots of books," said the 8-year-old student.

Listening to her daughter from across the room at her place in front of one of the computers, Sharon Martin praised the facility.

"This library has literally changed Jessyca," she said.

Holley said that the 8-year-old has become her little assistant since she wandered into the library one day on her own and has come back everyday since.

The enthusiasm Jessyca Martin has for the library is something Holley hopes will spread throughout the community, prompting more residents to stop in and find out what the facility has to offer.

The Helper City Library is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The facility is located next door to the civic auditorium at 19 South Main Street.

For additional information, residents may call the library at 472-5601.

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January 8, 2008
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