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Libraries help younger, older residents find books for summer

Lisa Mangum, author of the Hourglass Door, signs copies of her book after last week's presentation at the Helper City Library.

Sun Advocate writer

Libraries provide a wealth of information to the general public for free.

While the merits of offering the institutions are often under debate, public libraries have seen a rise in patronage during the last year.

Estimates nationally register at an increase of 30 percent.

In Price, the city library, according to director Norma Procarione, is up nearly 1,000 patrons over last year for this year so far, which ends in July.

The state of Utah has 70 public libraries according to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

While Carbon County only sports two of them - in Price and Helper - both offer the public not only books, but a variety of other medias.

"Last year we checked out over 10,000 audio, visual and others materials," said Procarione.

Both Price city and Helper libraries offer public Internet and videos to whom ever might be interested.

Budget wise, as with most public libraries, the cities of Price and Helper provide a majority the operating funds for their libraries.

But the state does also kick in around 25 percent of funding in Helper, according to Amanda Holley, director of the Helper library.

Funding is, however, "always a struggle," as described by Holley.

Holley said she believes that libraries can be seen as "money pits" by local officials. She also believes that, with the services provided, the libraries are worth it.

"I know of at least five families that have moved to helper for the library," said Holley.

While Patrons are up, Procarione acknowledges that "the economy is bad and we realize there will probably be some cuts somewhere ( for the year)."

In Helper, the public library has been striving to offer services to a younger demographic.

"Helper is a small community and the library is a place for kids to come," said Holley.

The Price library is also similar. Procarione said her major users were younger than the age of 10.

Holley states that this might be "unfortunate for adults who come in, looking for peace and quiet."

In terms of materials available through interlibrary loan, Holley added that she can usually get almost any kind of book someone might want.

Summertime might not be as busy as the school year in Helper at the library.

But according to Holley, "we have so many travelers coming through Helper, so we offer books that don't need a card to check out, and wireless Internet."

The summer season is similar in Price.

But the Helper and Price libraries offer summer reading programs for children as well as other activities that can keep young residents interested in reading all summer.

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