Mon, Jan. 20

What does a library card get you nowadays?
National Library Card Sign-up Month brings benefits beyond books

Cottonwood Library Manager Vanessa Ward says the mission of libraries has evolved into being “more community-oriented. We’ve done things to create a safe haven for teens and kids. (VVN/Vyto Starinskas)

Cottonwood Library Manager Vanessa Ward says the mission of libraries has evolved into being “more community-oriented. We’ve done things to create a safe haven for teens and kids. (VVN/Vyto Starinskas)

VERDE VALLEY - With September being National Library Card Sign-up Month, what do Verde Valley libraries offer beyond books?


According to Joni Westcott of the Clark Memorial Library, the trend for libraries is "less books and more computers and movies."

"Our movie check-outs are our biggest thing. We have DVDs and Blu-ray movies, typically the newest releases. We get them on the shelf pretty quickly as they come out," Westcott said.

Other resources available for check-out include audiobooks, large print books and magazines.

"Most people visit our library for the computers and Wifi. We have six computer stations and Wifi throughout the library and town park," said Westcott.

Westcott believes one of the biggest benefits of a community library is "personalized customer service. We are a big believer in helping our patrons to the best of our ability."

The Clark Memorial Library is located at 39 North Ninth Street. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to noon and closed Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call 928-639-2400 or visit


The "hot item" at the Cottonwood Public Library is its e-books. Everything from Ancestry information to Chilton vehicle repair manuals to Mango language courses can be snagged electronically - - but to read these items, you'll need a library card.

"The e-books have data bases that have to have a library card to access," says Library Manager Vanessa Ward.

As well as serving-up information, the library also provides entertainment. With the demise of movie rental stores, Ward has found a way to keep families together in the evening.

"You can check-out eight DVD's at a time and keep them for two weeks. Otherwise, you're looking at Redbox (a rental kiosk charging $1.50 per DVD per day)," said Ward.

For her, the mission of libraries has evolved into being "more community-oriented. We've done things to create a safe haven for teens and kids. And we've done a lot more adult programs like sketch class and adult coloring books and a community puzzle."

"It's amazing. You never know what is going to please them. It's not the quiet place it used to be," said Ward, adding that the library still provides quiet rooms for those wishing to study.

The Cottonwood Public Library also has high-speed Wifi access as well as nearly three dozen computer stations allocated in various sections for use by children, teens, adults and job seekers. But as much as libraries have changed with the times, a certain cachet remains with the lines of books stacked in shelves, waiting to be pulled-out and discovered.

"Like Steven King says, 'Books are unique portable magic,'" says Ward.

The Cottonwood Public Library is located at 100 S. 6th St. Hours are Monday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Tuesday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and closed Sunday. For more information, call 928-634-7559 or visit


In the historic mining town of Jerome, Head Librarian Kathleen Jarvis provides services to everyone from baby-boomer history buffs to millennial techno geeks.

"I would say about 70 percent of our library users come in for computers," said Jarvis. "We have five public computers and anyone can use their personal laptops to connect with our Wifi. That includes connecting on our porch when the library is closed or sitting in their car in the parking lot."

But just as important as the electronic connection is the human connection offered at the Jerome Library.

"I get a lot of older adults that need basic computer skills and don't know how to connect to the internet or print-out paper," she said. She also assists people "who have questions about the law or health care - - which I can't answer directly - - but I send them to a reliable website. I've taken classes on which sites to use."

Along with CDs and DVDs, the library also offers classic VHS, "which most libraries don't have anymore," said Jarvis. "We also have audio book and a fabulous children's room."

Historical offerings at the Jerome Library include books written by Herbert V. Young about Jerome's boom-to-bust days as well as a series of Sanborn Maps dating back to 1867.

The Town of Jerome Library is located at 600 Clark St. Hours are Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Monday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 8 p.m.; Friday noon to 6 p.m. and closed Saturday. For more information, call 928-639-0574 or visit


Once a county resident receives their free Yavapai Library Network card, the doors are open to community libraries throughout Yavapai County.

"We are all connected. You could come into Jerome with a Sedona library card and check-out books and movies," said Jarvis.

All that is required to obtain a card is photo identification, proof of residency and - - for those under 16 years of age - - signature from a parent or guardian. For those new to the area, a temporary 90-day library card is also available. This allows patrons to check-out two items as well as access the library's Wifi.

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