We have jumped into 2019 with both feet here at the library. 

January brought both a schedule change and Amnesty Week to our patrons, and both have been well received. We’ve heard many patrons mention they really enjoy being able to come to the library earlier and got lots of positive feedback regarding Amnesty Week.

Between Jan. 1 and Jan. 12, we waived $2,619.71 in overdue fines from about 150 patron accounts! About 50 of these accounts had fines high enough that the patrons were unable to check out materials. Overdue fines easily add up; life happens and getting things back on time can be difficult. I had $1.50 in fines on my own account, and I’m here every day! 

While fines serve as a motivator to return items on time, they can also become a barrier to library services for those who are unable to pay them. We are happy to have 50 individuals and families with clean slates ready to use the library again. 

In addition to waiving a lot of fines, 20 items, half books and half DVDs, were returned that had been marked lost by our system. It was rewarding to see these items put back into the collection.

January also brought the Winter Carnival, one of our most anticipated programs of the year. I cannot take any of the credit for this one, I unfortunately had to miss it. Luckily, Miss Colleen, our children’s librarian, did a great job getting things put together. Here is what she had to say:

“This was the fifth year of the annual Winter Carnival, and we were fortunate to have lovely weather for January. We hold the event on Martin Luther King Day, as the children are off from school and we love to see them at the library having a great time.

“We had the second largest participation with 135 children, family members and our wonderful volunteers. We are truly blessed with great volunteers, as an event that has so many individual games could not take place without lots of people willing to say ‘yes’ when they get a call from the librarian asking for help. Therefore, if you were a volunteer or have volunteered in the past we say a big ‘thank you.’ We also wish to thank the Friends of the Maquoketa Public Library as they pay for the prizes, books, and refreshments each year of the event. 

“The winners of our grand prizes this year were Libby Brewster, Moon Light; Skyla Brewster, Crayola Shoe Design; Sawyer Dostal, 50 Hot Wheels cars set; Jaden Fitzpatrick, Sharpie marker set; and Kinnick Neumann, LEGO set.”

We hope to see you at the library in February. We’ve got button making on Wednesday, Feb. 13, from 2 to 3. And in honor of Valentine’s Day, our current display features lonely books that could use a date. They’ve never been checked out, so come by and show these books some love. See you soon!

– Katie Paul is the executive director of Maquoketa Public Library. She can be reached at director@maquoketa.lib.ia.us.