Library 360: Oh, the Places We Go in Shawnee County

Welcome back to another edition of Library 360, your source for the inside scoop about your library.

Today we’re talking with Thad Hartman, Community Services Manager, about ways we get out of the building and into your neighborhoods and some exciting research we’re doing on expanding our reach.

As a community with just one main library building, Thad and many other staff members are concerned with delivering equitable services to the 177,000 individuals in Topeka and Shawnee County.

One of the largest ways we reach people in the county is with our Bookmobile service. Three bookmobiles make stops in neighborhoods and at schools in Shawnee County. (You may have met one of our 21 librarians who work on the bookmobile. Say hi to your favorite by leaving a comment below.) Another bookmobile is dedicated solely to visiting senior living centers.

A recently launched pilot project called Library @ work allows Stormont-Vail employees to receive library via their inter-office mail five days a week. Through they simply select their place of business as a delivery site. As we analyze the results of this project, we hope other businesses take an interest in literacy in the workplace. We are also investigating the possibility of serving the community through strategically located materials dispensers, packed with either DVDs, books or maybe both. Picture this: a library customer checking out the latest Jodi Picoult book while they’re at their local grocery store.

We are pushing forward with outreach efforts already underway and studying future community projects with one mission in mind: to get all residents of Topeka and Shawnee County to be library cardholders. Are you a cardholder? Sign up now.

As I said before, the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library doesn’t have any branches, well not the physical kind anyway. However, we do call our website the Digital Branch because you can do virtually everything online that you can in the physical building, including downloading a book. Go ahead. Surf around.

“We want service equity. No matter where you live, no matter who you are, you can take part in what the library has to offer,” Thad said. “We hope that people maybe don’t think about the library will see everything we have to offer whether it’s out in the community or coming in here to the main building.”





Lisa is a former employee and shared the library story in many of her posts.