Bringing an N.C. Library into the 21st Century

Employees and volunteers are cataloging every single book, DVD and periodical in the collection, entering their bar code numbers into a computer so the library can finally have a computerized catalogue system.

by Bill Cresenzo, Times-News, Burlington, N.C. / October 12, 2015 0

(TNS) -- When Jessica Arnold, a librarian, moved to Gibsonville in 2013 from Hillsborough, one of the first things she did, naturally, was get her library card.

What she found surprised her.

“I’ve never been in a library where they were still using paper and stamps,” she said.

But she fell in love with the small, quiet space at 506 Church St., near downtown, and, in her words, had “had my eyes on that library” even as she worked as a librarian in Orange County.

She was hoping one day to become its head librarian, and in July, those hopes were realized after the retirement of Kathy Loy.

Now, Arnold is tasked with modernizing the library. She, her employees and volunteers are painstakingly cataloging every single book, DVD and periodical in the collection, and entering their bar code numbers into a computer so that the library can finally have a computerized catalogue system.

She also recently installed a new copier that provides scanning and faxing services, something the library didn’t have before.

Arnold operates the library on a budget of $100,000 per year. Half is paid by Guilford County, the other half by the town of Gibsonville.

She said that while there has been some “scuttlebutt” that the library could close, she said that she has been assured that it will stay open.

Arnold grew up in Ohio. She graduated from Yale with a degree in English, and earned a master’s degree in English from Miami University in Ohio. She and her husband, Richard Arnold, moved to North Carolina in 2009 — she had spent some time in her childhood on the Outer Banks and likes it here.

In her spare time, she likes to read science fiction. She also likes gardening, or, as she puts it, “play in the dirt,” and also play with her two rescue dogs.

For those who think technology is eliminating the need for libraries, Arnold says, libraries are needed now more than ever. Every book, every computer, every DVD is the property of the community.

And, as hard as some may find it to believe, in many communities, especially small North Carolina communities like Gibsonville, there are many homes that don’t have high-speed Internet, the computers, the tablets and even the books that so many people take for granted.

“The public library has always been the great equalizer in our society,” she said.

©2015 Times-News (Burlington, N.C.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.