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Library board updated on outreach efforts
Design and coding lessons to be offered
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Krista Smith, member of the library board of directors, and Adult Services Librarian Erin Ferguson discuss the capabilities of the new 3-D printer. Staff have been training to be able to teach the public how to use the new technology. - photo by VERONICA COONS, Great Bend Tribune

Members of the Great Bend Public Library Board of Directors Monday were reminded that to remain relevant,libraries need to evolve. Rather than just a depository of books, the Great Bend Public Library is responding to the needs of the community by offering outreach and training. Elizabeth Dukelow, Data/Materials Manager and Marketing Librarian, presented the monthly departmental report. The library continues to outreach to the community through the Crochet Club. Members have crocheted 230 purple infant hats over the summer. Those that are at least 50 percent purple will be donated to the Kansas Childrens Service League for the “Period of Purple Crying” initiative. New parents receive a hat, a brochure and a DVD to watch about shaken baby syndrome.
“This has actually helped quite a bit with that, and the number of cases have dropped,” she said.
Hats that do not meet the criteria will be donated to Great Bend Regional Hospital.
Next, the club will be making adult hats, scarves and gloves starting now and going through January, Dukelow said. They will reach out to partner with groups holding coat drives and will have the sets available for those in need at the library.
The library also has information about community resources they make available at a kiosk near where the crocheted items are available. This is something that has been going on for years, Dukelow added in response to questions from board members.

3-D printing to be offered
Library staff is undergoing training on how to use the new 3-D printer so soon they will be able to assist the public. Data/Materials Manager and Marketing Librarian Elizabeth Dukelow told members of the Board of Directors Monday afternoon starting Sept. 28, classes will be scheduled for the public to learn the basics. The printer will be made available, but librarians or trained volunteers will start the projects and will also remove them from the bed for individuals.
There will be some restrictions on what can be made, she assured board members, with no weapons or obscene objects allowed. Individuals who can’t attend classes will be able to learn one-on-one with trained staff members too. The library will not charge for the use of the machine for at least the first six months. The filament used to “print” with generally costs about five cents per gram, and it comes on 1,000 gram reels.
“It’s not expensive to make things, but it is time consuming,” she said.
Director Harry Willems added the machine is not a toy, so the goal is not to have people stop in and make trinkets.
“We want people to actually learn how to make useful items, “ he said. “We’re hoping this is a gateway into actual employment for people.”
With this in mind, Dukelow said the staff is currently considering openSCAD software so they can start teaching design classes.
They plan to pair it with a coding class taught by Erin Ferguson, Adult Services and Information Guru.

Bylaws to be rewritten
Coming up, the board discussed an upcoming round of interviews for the next library director and board member training later in the month. Willems shared his work so far on rewriting the library’s by-laws. The original bylaws haven’t been touched since they were created in 1916. Many changes have happened over the past century, including the demolition of the original Carnegie library and the construction of the current building. The vintage bylaws also refer to various duties that librarians undertook on a volunteer basis, something that has been illegal for decades. He asked board members to look over the draft version and return with suggestions, and to consider a new vision statement for the library. Board members asked he bring the staff into the vision statement exercise.