WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Bossard Memorial Library was recently discussed mid-June in a Washington Post column describing opinions and ways to empower rural communities competing socially, economically and politically in Ohio.
Written by Highland County Commissioner, Washington Post contributing columnist and freelance writer Gary Abernathy, he details conversations had with senior organizer at Metro Industrial Areas Foundation, Mike Gecan, about how some small towns have been networking when they are spread over wider regions.
Gecan, through Abernathy’s words, describes Bossard Memorial Library as a town hub utilizing its internet hotspots to assist in providing internet to those who otherwise might not have it in an area lacking in broadband construction initiatives when compared to urban regions.
“As our visit came to a close that day, Mr. Gecan and I briefly discussed additional avenues of service for Bossard Library,” said Bossard Library Director Debbie Saunders when Gecan visited the Gallipolis library. “Today’s public libraries are vital organizations within their communities. As noted by the Ohio Library Council, public libraries provide public access to the internet, computers and the latest technology, help Ohioans find jobs and provide online educational courses, offer literacy and homework help for children, serve as the hub for their community and a place for people to gather, collaborate with private groups as well as state and local government entities to help deliver local services, provide life-long learning opportunities and programming for all ages, and offer personalized, one-on-one support to find unbiased and well-researched information as well as community resources.”
Bossard currently utilizes 100 hotspots with an average reserve list of 250 patrons, according to the library director.
‘During Gecan’s visit, the conversation turned to the library’s Wi-Fi to Go program, ” said Saunders. “Through this service, adult library patrons are able to ‘borrow the internet’ for a period of two weeks when they check out a mobile hotspot device from the library. The library board and administration believe that the public library plays a key role in providing access to information as well as assisting in bridging the technological gap that occurs in many parts of rural America. The Wi-Fi to Go program opens a world of opportunity for patrons to obtain information through the internet as well as the library’s many online resources, including online, college level courses.”
While also providing internet opportunities, the library hosted over 20,000 individuals who attended the first public library presentation of its kind when it partnered with the Bodies Revealed exhibit in 2016. The library will be partnering with NASA this September to host another large exhibit called Space: A Journey to Our Future.
“It is due to the support of the community that the library is able to provide these exhibitions to the public, as well as provide unique services such as Book-a-Bike and Wi-Fi to Go,” said Saunders.
For more information on the library including upcoming events and programs, visit bossardlibrary.org or stop by the library.
This story has been modified to reflect a correction that the library is not partnering with the Smithsonian in its space exhibit coming this September.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.