More than books: National Library Week celebrates the changing role of local libraries

In this age of technology, the local library, as we know it, may be a thing of the past. However, there is still a lot to love about the library.

During National Library Week, libraries across the Ozarks are celebrating the changing role libraries play in communities, by now offering much more than books.

What were once the backbone of the local library are now the basics.

"Libraries have become more of a community center where programming is offered for children, for adults, for seniors," Taneyhills Community Library Director Marcia Schemper-Carlock said.

Books are now only part to the package here at Taneyhills Library.

"Not too long ago, most schools changed the name of a library to the resource center and that's what this is," Library Patron Curtis Ramsey said.

Ramsey says this space sometimes serves as his office. He travels regionally for his work at Brinton Electric Security Services and, when he is in Branson, the library is the perfect location.

"I can use the free wi-fi. I have a quiet place to sit and work," Ramsey said.

The library even offers classes on how to use new technology, eBooks for tablet-reading, and hands-on electronic learning for kids.

"It's teaching children a lot of interactive skills," Taneyhills Community Library Board Member Adele Groote said.

While often times books are replaced by electronics, the numbers here at the library also show that more books are being taken off the shelves than ever before.

"We've seen our kid's circulation grow by 30 percent. We've seen, I think, it's about a 30 percent increase in the number of people who have library cards," Schemper-Carlock said.

Still, this library does face challenges. Taney County is one of two Missouri counties that does not have taxpayer supported libraries.

"We have 125 volunteers," Schemper-Carlock said.

Volunteers along with donations and the on-site thrift store keep it running.

"The biggest challenge this library faces is serving the community in the capacity it does without tax dollars," Groote said.

However, the library leaders say, after nearly 85 years in Branson, the facility will remain a vital part of the community.

"This is where the heart of the community is," Volunteer Americanna Magness said.

Some libraries have special events this week for National Library Week.

You can check out the events being offered at Taneyhills Libary by visiting this website: bransoncommunitylibrary.org