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Evolution of a Small-Town Library
As we prepare to move the Southern Boone County Public Library to a new address in Ashland, we take a look back at how library service there has changed with the times.
In 1957, an experimental bookmobile route in Boone, Callaway and Howard Counties introduced the public library to many Mid-Missouri towns, including Ashland. During the first 40 years of this county library service, bookmobile stops in Ashland came and went, as interest from Ashland residents ebbed and flowed. But, as the population of Southern Boone County has grown in recent decades, so did interest in the library.
In 1990, after some years of absence, the bookmobile rolled into Ashland once again, stopping once a month at South County Bank. In 1995, a second monthly stop was added and usage continued to climb at a new location, the Ashland Baptist Church. The number of check-outs from 1990 to 1997 increased by 600%.
By 1999, providing a branch library in Ashland was a clear priority. So, in October of that year, DBRL’s old bright orange and yellow bookmobile, out of commission since 1986, was parked there and opened up for 20 hours a week as a temporary library. The library moved (with the help of a hand-to-hand book brigade) into a leased storefront space at 117 East Broadway just 10 months later. The population of Southern Boone County has continued to grow and community members continue to enthusiastically use their library.
Now it’s 2012, and it’s time for another book brigade to move the library from its 3,335 square-foot space into a newly constructed 6,500-square-foot building. Comments from the community and usage statistics prove the need for a roomier facility. The number of items checked out at Southern Boone County Library grew 14.5% between 2010 and 2011 and another 8.5% in this calendar year. We expect to keep seeing increases in check-outs and usage in our new location and we hope this expanded facility serves Ashland well for many years to come.