What do memoirs, diapers, cats, coats, tweens and seeds have in common? All are part of the programming and purpose of the Bogart Library. Although the Bogart Library is one of the smaller branches in the Athens Regional Library System, its community focus helps it to be among the busiest. Library staff and leadership demonstrate the importance of serving and supporting the community through specialized requested programming and donations to community agencies. When staff were informed of a strong local need for diapers for working families, the Library volunteered to be a permanent diaper donation point for the Athens Area Diaper Bank. In addition to the Athens Area Diaper Bank, the Bogart Library hosts an annual Coat & Blanket, a food drive, a bedding & food drive for the Oconee Animal Shelter and two Seed & Plant Swaps. Staff feel that contributing to the community is so important, that the Branch Supervisor developed a program, in which tweens, ages 9-13, are mentored and inspired to assist at programs for younger children during the summer and school year. The younger children bask in the attention of “older kids” while the tweens develop the confidence and enjoyment that comes from helping their community. Each summer, up to 40 tweens enjoy helping at puppet shows, musical events, nature and arts programs.
Adults and families aren’t forgotten as the staff regularly solicits input on the types of programming the community needs. When adult readers requested a Mystery Book Club, to complement the regularly scheduled Bogart Bookies Book Club, staff member Dr. Penny Mills, who has presented virtual programs on How to Read a Mystery, volunteered to host a monthly Tuesday evening club. Dr. Mills also hosts a monthly Memoir Writing program for adults in all stages of life. Regularly scheduled “Lunch & Learn sessions, and film series are also offered at the Bogart Library, thanks to patron requests.
When young families asked for a time specifically for their little ones, a language intensive Infant and Toddler Time was developed and is hosted twice weekly.
As the need for more programming for tweens arises, plans are underway for a monthly tween MathMagic “club”, a tween book club, and additional arts and literature programs for families, children and adults.
“We love our community.” Branch Supervisor Donna O’Kelley Butler says. “We are always excited to help our patrons in all stages of their lives. Maybe that’s why people say ‘This is such a friendly library! We feel so at home here!’”