An unfortunate situation won’t hamper the library

Kim Brooks
Babbling Brooks Column
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     The Ross & Elizabeth Baty Public Library (Monticello library) will soon celebrate its 15th anniversary inside the current building.

     I was here and serving on the library board of trustees when the library celebrated its 10th anniversary. Still here and still serving on the board…

     Being a member of the public library board is a pleasure, a breeze, one of the easiest community volunteer opportunities. I am an avid reader and grew up going to the library quite frequently as a kid. It was always a fun outing when my mom took my younger sister and me to our town library to check out the latest books or explore books we hadn’t read yet.

     Growing up, my mom served and continues to serve on the Earlville library board. When I moved here in 2009, it wasn’t long before I was given the same opportunity.

     Our library director and staff do one heck of an exceptional job. Despite being their board, we really don’t have to worry about our staff. They are very self-sufficient. They have the library and community’s best interests at heart.

     The staff also worked hard during COVID to make sure patrons still had access to materials and services.

     The Monticello library has done so much for the community in the past 15 years. We’ve expanded our services and offerings beyond what we thought was possible. That includes the new Story Walk, located on Willow Trail from E. Oak Street to the E. First Street Bridge.

     The Story Walk was made possible by several grants and donations, as well as our staff’s time changing the story every few months. This project also took assistance from city Public Works and Parks and Rec staff.

     Last week, thanks to a community resident who witnessed suspicious behavior near Kitty Creek, we learned that our library Story Walk had been vandalized. Someone (some young people) pulled some of the Story Walk posts out of the ground and threw them inside Kitty Creek. We were, however, fortunate that there was no severe damage to the Story Walk.

     But this sad situation has prompted the library to consider a more permanent alternative, which would also cost more money.

     The Story Walk, which was installed last winter, has been well received by people of all ages, children and adults, despite it being geared toward younger children. Families post pictures on Facebook of their kids stopping to read the pages along the trail.

     This project promotes healthy living by encouraging families to get outdoors and early literature/reading.

     It’s too bad young people had to try and ruin something like this. But this incident isn’t going to stop the library from continuing to offer great services to the Monticello community. In fact, once the school year winds down, be sure to stop in the library and sign up for the Summer Reading Program. This is open to readers of all ages, young and old alike. And our great staff are working hard to bring back some exciting in-person programming as well…


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