Merrick and Ainsley Schreiber show off the puzzle they finished at the Mary J Barnett Library.

Special to the Times Vedette

February is the month of Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day. Even bigger than these events, February is Library Lovers Month. It is unclear if there is a sponsor of Library Lovers Month, but there are a lot of reasons to be a library lover.

Libraries, contrary to popular fallacies, are not obsolete. In fact, the modern public library is more vital and important than ever before. Libraries have moved from being just a place to borrow books to community hubs.

People frequent the public library for many reasons besides checking out books, though that is still an important and vital service we provide. In addition to best sellers, cookbooks, children’s books, graphic novels, fiction and nonfiction books, patrons can check out magazines, DVDs, audiobooks, board games, cake pans, candy molds, video games, puzzles, Wi-Fi Hotspots and more.

In addition to the materials we have on our shelves, library patrons can access books from libraries across the state through SILO loans. Libby (Bridges) is an app that anyone with a library card can download on their devices; with this app, patrons can borrow more than 50 magazine titles, electronic books and audiobooks. Libby provides thousands of children’s, young adult, and adult books of every genre. Readers who use Libby ebooks can adjust the size of the text as well as the light settings. Using audiobooks, patrons can change the playback speed or set a sleep timer. Using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto support, audiobooks can be enjoyed in the car. Best of all, Libby (Bridges) is completely FREE to patrons with a library card, which is also free.

Educational opportunities are available at the library. We provide several after-school programs for young people. Working with the Guthrie County Extension, the library provides STEM workshops after school. For young people who enjoy creative opportunities, Boredom Busters provides a chance to make creative projects each month. The next Boredom Busters will meet on Wednesday, March 20 at 3:30 p.m.

The library also provides maker space activities and STEM kits from the library’s STEM cart for use by young patrons. Coloring pages are also always available. We have two educational computers for children as well as iPads for checkout. Nintendo Wii and Nintendo Switch game systems are available for use in the library.

For preschoolers, there is weekly story time each Friday at 10 a.m. Little people and their caregivers can join us for stories and crafts weekly. The library offers an extensive collection of picture books and board books geared toward preschoolers. We also have toys and puppets that can be used in the library.

We have a large number of Vox “Books that Talks” and Wonderbooks available for checkout. These books are books combined with an audiobook. Children may enjoy the audiobook alone or read along with the audio. These require no internet connection, have adjustable volume, and universal headphone jacks. We also have a large selection of Playaway audiobooks in our juvenile fiction section. These self-contained audiobooks run on batteries, require no internet and can be used with headphones or in the car using an auxiliary cord.

In addition, all kids from preschool to eighth grade are invited to participate in our Summer Reading Program during the month of June this summer.

For adults, we offer cribbage each Monday morning from 9-11 a.m. and bridge each Wednesday from 9-11 a.m.. On the third Thursday of each month, the card-making club meets from 9-11 a.m. There is a $5 fee to cover the cost of all the materials. The next class will be March 21. Cookbook Club meets the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. Book Club meets the second Tuesday of each month at 3 p.m. The March 12 book, “Killing the Legends: The Lethal Danger of Celebrity” by Bill O’Reilly, is available for checkout.

Lunch and Learn, held the second Wednesday of each month, offers educational information, a light lunch, and social time with other adults. The March Lunch and Learn will be from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13, and will feature a presentation by the Farm Bureau.

We offer educational programs for adults also. Our next program will be Tuesday, March 19 at 5:30 p.m. Presented by Living History Farms, this program will be about the history of farming. Pre-registration is appreciated.

Technical support is available with an appointment. We can help with portable devices and apps. The library has computers available to use as well as printing, faxing and laminating services available for a minimal fee.

Friends of the Library meet next on March 5 at 6:15 p.m. This is a great opportunity to get involved in promoting the library and also provides social time. They will be sponsoring a Trivia Night Fundraiser on Saturday, Feb. 24 at the Guthrie Center Activity Center. The catered meal from The Cabbage Rose will be served at 6 p.m., and trivia will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets may be purchased for $35 at the library. Teams may have up to six members. Alcohol will be available for a free-will donation.

Many folks stop into the library just for a change of scenery or to socialize. A jigsaw puzzle is always started; newspapers and magazines are available to read. We have cozy spaces to read or study. Coffee is available, and the Wi-Fi is free.

We are constantly working to add new programs and services for the benefit of our patrons. In 2022, our patrons checked out 7,633 items while in 2023, 9,750 items were checked out from the MJB Library. It seems like patrons love our library. If you haven’t been here in a while, please stop by and see all that we have to offer. After all, it is Library Lovers Month! 

These earnest youngsters are waiting to try out the catapults they constructed during the February STEM activity at the MJB Library.


Using the catapult that she made during the STEM after-school activity, Hadley Knobbe attempts to knock over this pyramid of cups with a Valentine’s Day candy heart.