Tuesday afternoon, the Hoisington Public Library celebrated the 40th anniversary of the move to its current home adjacent to the City of Hoisington offices and city auditorium.
According to Director Melissa Nech, ground was broke during a January 12, 1975 ceremony and construction continued through the summer of that year. Carpeting issues delayed the move into the new location. Instead of moving in during the month of August, as anticipated, books were shelved by Saturday, Dec. 13, 1975, and an official ribbon-cutting was held Jan. 10, 1976.
The new location was funded by the City of Hoisington, whose offices are now located in the space where the old library used to be housed.
Always home to a variety of reading materials in addition to book, such as large-print fiction, magazines and newspapers, the library has made strides to keep up with the latest technological advancements over the years. Today, the collection contains all manner of electronic and digital media such as DVDs and ebooks, as well as several public computers, and librarians with the knowledge and skills to help patrons of the library navigate these new technologies. Wireless internet service has been provided by Nextech, and allows a growing number of patrons who bring their own devices reliable access to the internet.
When the library opened its doors in 1975, the card catalogue was where patrons went to search the location of a book, and encyclopedias were in high demand by students researching school papers. Today, librarians remarked, the card catalogue no longer exists, and most students are not familiar with the traditional multiple volumes of hard-backed encyclopedias. Today, they opt for collecting the information through digital means.
It was the late 1980s when the library received its first computers for patron use, and at that time, librarians learned the basics of computing through on the job training after hours. Recently, new additions to the library include a new microfilm reader, financed through a library grant program, and the addition of meeting space on the south side of the library, a memorial gift from a library patron.
Many advances have occurred over the past 40 years, but the main purpose of the library remains the same. Patrons have access to a wide variety of materials through the library’s collection and through interlibrary loans throughout the state, ensuring a free-flow of information to all people.. So far this year, Nech said, there have been 9,800 visitors to the library up until the end of November.