National LIbrary Week proclaimed in Jefferson County

LIbrarians from the six public libraries in Jefferson County were on hand at a recent Jefferson County Commissioners meeting as April 19-25 was proclaimed National Library Week in the county. Shown (from left, front row) are Janine Strohm, director of Rebecca M. Arthurs Memorial Library, Brookville; Jessica Church, director of the Punxsutawney Memorial Library; Darlene Marshall, assistant director for the Jefferson County Library Association and director of the Mengle Memorial Library, Brockway, and Jen Coleman, director of the Summerville Library; (back row): Penny Sackash, director of Sykesville Public Library, Commissioner Jeff Pisarcik; Karl Rebon, director of Reynoldsville Public Library; Commisioner Jack Matson; Commissioner Herb Bullers; and Sandy Hetrick, vice president of the Jefferson County Library System board.

BROOKVILLE — The Jefferson County Commissioners last week proclaimed the week of April 19-25 as National Library Week in Jefferson County.

Darlene Marshall, Jefferson County Library System Adminstrator and director of the Mengle Memorial Library (Brockway), thanked the commissioners for supporting the public libraries and spoke about what libraries offer.

“Libraries are cornerstones of democracy, promoting the free exchange of information and ideas for all,” Marshall said. “They also foster civic engagement by keeping people informed and aware of community events and issues.”

Jefferson County Library System helps lead the community by serving all the residents in Jefferson County through access to libraries and programs. The Jefferson County Commissioners proclaimed National Library Week “Find Your Place at the Library” in honor of the six member libraries: Mengle Memorial Library (Brockway). Rebecca M. Arthurs Memorial Library (Brookville), Punxsutawney Memorial Library, Reynoldsville Public Library, Summerville Public Library, and Sykesville Public Library.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April.

Marshall took the opportunity to talk about some of the services the library offers beyond being a source for books. “People think libraries are just books. Libraries are not just books. Librarians are there for everybody.”

She noted that one man came in to the library in Brockway to use one of the public computers to do a job interview, while others come in with their devices and need to print a resume. Others are also using the library as they prepare and file their taxes.

“People don’t have the printing services at home that we think they do; they don’t have the computers that we think they do and so when I looked that night I had four people who were using the library that benefited from jobs, and I have seen them get jobs or improve their job situation. We have Power Library and it has different resources. We have Career Link. ...about four of our libraries are serving with training programs for the youth.” There are training programs for adults as well as access to technology such as computers, wifi and the internet.

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She talked about one man who needed to go a step further than just sending a resume – he needed to do an online interview. “Thanks to a grant from Pennsylvania Library Association, we had the equipment with headsets and microphones that he could actually do online job interviews. We were able to do that at our library for him, and he was successfully receiving jobs, and then they did actually live interviews.”

She said that librarians don’t always realize how many people they impact. She told the commissioners one man who had been coming into the Brockway library quite often, told her he had gotten a better job and he wouldn’t be back in to check his email every day at the library. “That’s what we take for granted is we see these faces but we don’t always know what they’re doing or what’s going on.” She said one man told her “how much he appreciated the library and how we were there for him. We just talked to him, and we got him through those hard days without a job. He didn’t have anybody else to talk to and he just needed somebody to encourage him, and he said he doesn’t get that in other places he goes for the help that he needs, and he comes to the library because we are there for him and now he has a job, and now he’s coming back for those government documents that he needs and filling out his tax forms. We can’t fill out the tax forms for everybody but we can assist and I know in Summerville (library), they are doing a tax program. So it just depends. Each library has a varying program or assistance that they help with because we have some small libraries that might not have the space to do job interviews and we have larger libraries that have space, but we have six wonderful libraries in this county that serve people everyday on a regular basis.”

Even if a library isn’t open, Marshall says people can “access valid resources online, and even get help from home with your resume and job skills. We have Gale services that you can do some courses for jobs – interviewing and job skills. So, there is something that every person can use their library for, and we’re not just about books, which books are very valuable to the people; people are still coming in for that feel of that book. It’s very vital to people and devices are very important to people as well but we do books.”

Liquid FuelsThe commissioners also approved an application for county aid (Liquid Fuel money) for Sykesville Borough for the purchase of a 2020 silver Chevy Silverado truck, retroactive to March 2, in the amount of $10,000.

2nd Amendment SancturaryThe commissioners had been approached within the past month or so about the idea of a Second Amendment Sanctuary ordinance that would make Jefferson County a sanctuary county for firearms and boost up the Second Amendment.

Commissioner Jack Matson said, “We did talk to the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania. This is the email they sent back to us: ‘CCAP has not issued a legal opinion or official guidance on this matter, other than to note that given state laws it is likely that anything a county adopts is going to be largely symbolic. To that end, we have been encouraging counties to continue talking with their solicitors about the legal enforcement of such an ordinance. You might also want to have a discussion with your solicitor about whether there would be any potential liability to a county if an incident occurred by an individual who used a county ordinance as justification for their right to undertake a particular action.’

The commissioners are discussing the sense of enacting an ordinance that’s symbolic with no enforcement power but that creates liability for the county. They did not take any action nor did they give any indication of passing a Second Amendment Sanctuary ordinance anytime in the foreseeable future.

MeetingThe commissioners were scheduled to meet today (Wednesday) at 10:30 a.m. at Jefferson Place.

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