Harlan County Libraries provide report to Fiscal Court

Published 1:30 pm Monday, November 27, 2023

The Harlan County Fiscal Court heard from Harlan County Public Libraries Director Richard Haynes during a recent meeting. Haynes gave the magistrates a report of the Harlan County Public Libraries performance over the past year.

Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley called for the report to be presented to the magistrates.

Haynes told the magistrates the report contained information including the libraries circulation numbers, budget information, and more.

“I can go over a few things for you if you like,” Haynes said.

Haynes mentioned circulation numbers and bookmobile statistics are essential factors.

“Our bookmobile travels all the roads of Harlan County,” Haynes said. “It will come to you house all the way up to Lynch, to Crummies, to the end of Holmes’ Mill and everywhere else.”

According to Haynes, the Harlan County Public Libraries bookmobile has completed 931 visits to people over the past year.

Haynes then advised the magistrates about the circulation numbers for the libraries.

“Circulation is just basically the number of items that have been checked out in the community,” Haynes explained. “We checked out 13,000 at the main library, 9,828 items at all our branches, and the bookmobile itself has checked out 9,521 items in 2023. That’s a total of approximately 32,000 items checked out.”

The Harlan County Public Libraries website at harlancountylibraries.org states there is three library facilities throughout Harlan County: the Bryan W. Whitfield Jr. Library in downtown Harlan, the Rebecca Caudill Public Library in Cumberland, and the Evarts Public Library in Evarts.

“Another important thing is the total circulation of electronic materials,” Haynes said.

Haynes reported a total of 67,928 electronic items, which includes electronic materials such as audiobooks and additional materials through the online library.

“We also do a lot of programs,” Haynes said. “We’ve done 232 programs for children and 19 online programs. We’ve had in attendance 1,904 for children’s programming.”

Haynes mentioned there are special events coming up at the library.

“We’ve got our Santa visits coming up,” Haynes said. “We have our Sensitive Santa. Sensitive Santa is a more laid back approach than the mall Santa. We invite children that have ADHD or may have other developmental issues to come, they get a 15-minute block (with Santa), so they don’t have to just jump right in Santa’s lap and get a picture, and get out of there. There’s not a lot of people around, so they get a little bit of time to warm up to Santa.”

Haynes explained parents enjoy the Sensitive Santa because it allows the children to become comfortable with Santa.

“It makes it a little less stressful for the children,” Haynes said. “So that’s coming up the second week of December, and we’ve got a lot of other programs around Christmas.”

Magistrate Paul Browning noted the Rebecca Caudill Library in Cumberland is an asset to the community.

“I appreciate the library in Cumberland,” Browning said. “it’s really taken a very active role. They have the outdoor theater and some other things they’ve done the last few months…I’m very appreciative of their efforts.”

For more information on Harlan County Public Libraries, go to harlancountylibraries.org.