• 57°

Time for a story

If public libraries had a slogan, it might be, “We’re not just books anymore,” and that’s the exact message that Andalusia Public Library’s director Karin Taylor wants residents to know.

“Libraries aren’t what they used to be,” Taylor said. “You can walk in to any library and see its computer lab and know that statement is true.”

Libraries across the state are now making preparations for the “Big Read,” an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture and to promote library services and usage. Participants will read and discuss Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.”

On Feb. 26, 2010, the APL will mark the 134th birthday of the publication with a party, Taylor said.

“We’ll have librarians and local dignitaries read excerpts from the book,” she said. “And of course, there will be birthday cake.”

The following month a series of lectures and discussions, as well as a museum art exhibit, will be hosted at the library. Taylor said even though there are months between now and the Feb. 26, 2010, kickoff date, it’s no excuse to put off visiting any public library.

“Many people probably have no idea we offer,” she said. “There are free online, real time tutoring sessions for students, Internet access to do research, job searches, a way to file for unemployment benefits. We have DVDs of popular movies, self-help series — you name it. We’ve got CDs of all sort of music from rock to classical. There are children’s services with story time on Fridays from 10:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. and the summer library program.

“We have a wonderful genealogy department — one of the best I’d say in southeast Alabama,” she said. “Our entire card catalogue is on the web, so you can even search for the service or book you need before you even leave the house.

“And of course, we have books,” she said. “People should check us out.”

To visit the Andalusia Public Library on the web, visit alaweb.com/~andylib/.