LIMA — You work hard for your money.
The staff at Lima Public Library at 650 W. Market St. wants to help you save some of that hard-earned cash in today’s more expensive world. The library will be extending its hours beginning Sept. 6, giving the public more time to browse and borrow, instead of buying, materials such as books, magazines, CDs and DVDs.
The Lima library’s new hours will be from 9 am to 8 pm Monday through Thursday and from 9 am to 5 pm Friday and Saturday.
When you check out your materials, look at your due date slip. The library tells you how much money you’ve saved by borrowing instead of buying. The tally updates with each item you check out.
Turning the page on COVID restrictions
The Lima Public Library and its branch locations closed their doors March 20, 2020, because of COVID-19. Governor Mike DeWine had declared a state of emergency and a shutdown followed.
Gary Fraser, the Lima Public Library’s executive director, said that as an organization, the library always followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations, and the library was closed until June 22, 2020.
“A few weeks before we opened to limited hours, we had curb-side service only,” Fraser said.
From that reopen until Sept. 6 of this year when the library extends its hours, the library has been operating on limited hours. Although resuming extended library hours had been considered sooner, Fraser said concern for staff, the public, and the threat of several variants of the virus kept the library on restricted hours.
“It seems like this summer we started seeing more people come back to the library. Maybe it’s because people are accepting COVID as a part of life. But with more traffic and more demand, it’s time to extend the library’s hours.
The main branch in Lima will see a 30 percent increase in open hours, while the branch libraries will see a 57 percent increase.
“We want the library to be used by the public,” said Fraser.
Many reasons to visit the library
You don’t have to be a bibliophile, or book lover, to benefit from visiting the Lima Public Library.
Many library patrons will appreciate the library being open additional hours because it will allow them more time to browse the vast book and magazine collection or to plop down and read. But the library offers more than books.
Kenny Smith, of Columbus Grove, has noticed an increase in his visits to the Lima Public Library in the past year.
“I visit at least a couple times a week. I combine my library visits with other things I need to do in town. I’ll usually look at all the newspapers. Sometimes I get on the computers. I have one at home, but it seems like there’s less distraction here,” Smith said.
Some people stop by the library to check out the latest music and movie offerings. Others come in because they can study better in the comfortable, quiet atmosphere the library provides.
“I meet with people here,” said Olivia DePalma, of Lima. “The extended hours are great for me because some of them don’t get off work until 4 or 5.
“I also used to come here all the time in college. It was a great place to study, especially the quiet zone,” DePalma said.
Unknown treasures waiting to be found
Among the underutilized resources the library offers, Fraser said, meeting rooms top the list. Using a meeting room is free, he said, but the room needs to be reserved.
Other treasures that can be checked out and enjoyed include board games, selfie sticks, a telescope and sewing machine.
Funding for the library comes from the state, Fraser said, and the library has continued to see its collection of books and materials grow.
“We don’t get a local levy or taxes that go to the library, but getting money from the state means we haven’t taken a hit in being able to afford new materials despite the rising costs of everything. We try to grow our collection every year,” he said.
The biggest challenge to providing the public with new and current books and other items has been a delay in the supply chain.
“Materials take longer to get here and sometimes we don’t get as many copies of things,” Fraser said.
Planning for the future
In the near future, Fraser said an anticipated change includes increasing in-person programming for both youth and adults.
“During COVID, programming was greatly reduced,” Fraser said. “There were no in-person activities. But now, with more hours, staff will do more programs where people can participate in person.”
The Lima Public Library maintains a calendar of events on its website at www.limalibrary.com. Animal lovers might want to mark their calendars for Sept. 9, so they don’t miss the Woof & Meow Adoption Event. Visit the library as it hosts its third pet adoption event at 3 pm in the Memorial Book Room.
The library is also planning a project that it hopes will bring a public-access elevator to the building.
“The feedback we get from programs and events is about the need for an elevator,” Fraser said.
From its growing collection of materials to its many services and programs, the Lima Public Library now offers more hours to grab those chances to save money, while also learning and having fun. Check it out.
New library hours
Main (Lima) branch: 9 am-8 pm Monday-Thursday; 9 am-5 pm Friday and Saturday.
Elida: 10 am-7 pm Monday-Thursday; 10 am-2 pm Friday and Saturday.
Cairo: 10 am-7 pm Monday-Thursday; 10 am-2 pm Friday and Saturday.
Lafayette: Noon-7 pm Tuesday; 10 am-5 pm Wednesday and Thursday; 10am-2pm Friday.
Spencerville: 10 am-7 pm Monday-Thursday; 10 am-2 pm Friday and Saturday.
Visit the library’s website for a calendar of events: www.limalibrary.com.