We are very excited about several new services that will improve your library experience beyond the library’s walls. We have opened a small lending “book nook” thanks to a great deal of volunteer effort; we will reach more children than ever with our new small bookmobile; and we think everyone will be thrilled with our new user-friendly catalog.
Through a generous gift from Altrusa, Inc. of Columbia , including many volunteer hours, a “book nook” was added for customers of the Central Missouri Food Bank ’s new Central Pantry  on Big Bear Boulevard. Located next to the waiting area, the book nook is full of furniture and toys provided by Altrusa and books from the library. Adults can enjoy a magazine while they wait, and kids can even borrow a book and return it on a later visit. It was exciting to see the first, and very enthusiastic, visitor at the open house event.
Also thanks to Altrusa’s efforts, we were able to add a Saturday session, once a month, to the popular Reading to Rover  program. In this program, children read for 15 minutes to a dog from Ann Gafke’s Teacher’s Pet Therapy Dogs while a handler oversees them. This is a fun and unique way to help improve children’s literacy skills.
Another way we reach young people is with our Youth Outreach Bookmobile . Currently, we visit the Bear Creek Neighborhood and the Blind Boone Community Center twice a month, and we present literacy information to teen parents once a month at the Columbia/Boone County Health Department. The small bookmobile also delivers library materials to several locations around Columbia and visits special programs such as the summer Lunch in the Park program in Columbia’s Douglass Park. It is stocked with about 2,500 items for kids and parents and other materials specific to each site, like tutoring materials. We are in the process of replacing the current 1986 vehicle, which is no longer reliable for travel outside of Columbia. A new bookmobile, expected to hit the road in about a year, will allow us to expand this more specialized service to children in Boone and Callaway Counties.
We will soon have a new online catalog  that will make it easier to find books, music, videos and more. This new system, created by BiblioCommons , has an advanced search algorithm, so it’s good at finding what you want, and it lets you organize, narrow or expand your search results with just a few clicks. User reviews and staff recommendations will make discovering new books and authors fun and easy. You can even browse visually to see items that would be nearby on the shelf.
Watch this site for an announcement of the new catalog's launch in the next few months, and don't forget you can get library announcements by signing up for our e-mail newsletter  or following the library on Twitter .