Monday, July 9, 2012

Hamilton East Public Libraries

     Since moving to Fishers, Indiana five years ago, I have become a weekly patron of the Hamilton East Public Library System.  The Hamilton East Public Library system has many resources to make it more accessible for patrons and to improve the services offered.  As a parent of two young boys, I have been very impressed with the services they offer for children.  They have adapted to the digital age and offer ways to access books online through the TumbleBooks program for children or the OverDrive program for adults and adolescents.  I prefer to read hard copies of books, but have occasionally used the library's OverDrive online system to read books when I want to avoid a lengthy wait time to reserve the paper book.  My children have occasionally viewed a book through TumbleBooks but I have several friends who use it on a regular basis.  With the pervasive nature of electronic reading devices today, it is important that libraries offer options for those who utilize digital reading methods. 
     TumbleBooks is a good resource for parents who choose to utilize computers, iPads, and eReaders to augment their children's reading experiences.  The library has a link to TumbleBooks on the side of their homepage.  They should also use more social media applications like Facebook or a blog to inform patrons about this service.  TumbleBooks offers online storybooks, nonfiction works, games, and informational videos geared toward children.  It also offers iPad books.  This is a great resource for providing online content for children.  I hope that more patrons will find out about this and utilize it to justify the cost the library surely pays to subscribe to this service so that they will continue to provide this in the future.
     The library also offers a wide range of story times and services for children.  They place a big focus on educating caregivers about developing literacy in children.  There are many different age-specific story and craft times, including groups designated for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, as well as children on the cusp of reading and children who have already started reading independently.  They offer seasonal programs for children and have a monthly Lego group and offer the child the option to display their work.  There is a monthly calendar found on the website that highlights all of the activities each month and allows patrons to register online with ease.  They also have a strong support system for home school families and distribute a newsletter specifically produced with information for them.  The Hamilton East Public Library system offers a multitude of programs and services to enhance the library experience for its patrons.
     Residents of Hamilton County, Indiana have access to a fantastic library system.  I chose to focus on children's services for this particular blog entry, but could extol the value of many of the other services and programs they offer.  However, the Hamilton East Public Library does not take full advantage of all of the social media applications available.  They have a Facebook page, but not much else.  I think in the future they should focus on adding and implementing other technological applications to help promote the many great services they offer.

Jennifer Harmon

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