OSCEOLA MILLS – Five years ago, the Osceola Mills branch of the Clearfield County Library was closed because of budget cuts. Fortunately for the residents of this area, it was not the end of their town’s library.
A group of people quickly came together to form the Osceola Mills Community Library and set up a board of directors. They were able to re-open the library on July 16, 2012.
To celebrate their fifth anniversary, the library will have cupcakes for everyone visiting from July 10 to July 15. They are also having a drawing for reading-related prizes with patrons getting a ticket each time they check out a book that week.
Today the library is run by 11 dedicated volunteers. In the last five years, they have managed to keep the shelves stocked with the latest books and have continued to provide the area with many services.
Considering the county library left them with only old books and computers and took their card catalog, it is a quite an accomplishment that the library serves 300 to 400 people each month.
“We have more books now than they had before,” said Cindy Britton, chairperson of the board of directors.
Without volunteers and contributions from the community, the library would not exist, Britton said. Little or big efforts to enhance the library are all appreciated.
Recently Richard Wood built new end caps for the shelving. In addition, Ron Hoover and Virginia Clemence cataloged all the books and set up a computer program to help the clerks find books. This was necessary because the county took the card catalog.
“There is no more dewey decimal system,” Britton said, noting that “none of us are librarians.”
Everything is done by hand and they use old-fashioned name cards in the books because they don’t have a scanner system.
Fundraising is vital to the library’s success. They have regular basket auctions and raffles with prizes supplied by Wal-Mart. The recent raffle has a 50-inch TV as the top prize. They also sell Gardner’s Candy, used books and crocheted items.
A regular grant from the Clearfield County Charitable Foundation’s Sara Jane Mattern Fund is an important part of the library’s budget.
Previously this grant was used to purchase a new computer, which is an important addition to the library because residents often use the computers for job and housing searches.
There is no charge for any of the library’s programs, such as Story Hour, the book club for adults, various reading incentive programs and the popular Homework Club.
The Homework Club helps students from kindergarten through middle school complete their homework. Debbie Cowfer, who directs this group, said they sometimes have up to 14 kids in attendance.
In addition to the library volunteers being on hand to help, high school students participate to earn the community service hours required for graduation.
“It’s not just homework, we can help them with any class,” she said, adding the school sometimes sends students who are struggling to them.
This program was on hold last year, because Cowfer took some time off. It will be back, by popular demand, in the fall.
Something new coming in the fall, is an adult reading program to showcase their inventory. Because the library is run only by volunteers, there is a misconception that they don’t have much in the way of new or best-selling titles. This program could change that.
For the younger kids, there is the new “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” national program that encourages adults to read to their children beginning at birth and going up to kindergarten. Parents keep track of the books and when they hit 1,000, they get a certificate.
If you want to learn more about what’s going on at the Osceola Mills Community Library, you can find information on its Facebook page.