Southern Indiana Living

JAN-FEB 2019

Southern Indiana Living magazine is the exclusive publication of the region, offering readers a wide range of coverage on the people, places and events that make our area unlike any other. In SIL readers will find beautiful photography, encouraging s

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Jan/Feb 2019 • 31 L ibraries have provided a myri- ad of resources throughout the years, enabling patrons to become knowledgeable about everything from alchemy to Zanzibar. Past methods for attaining information included dig- ging through card catalogs to locate the right book or periodical to suit our needs. Yet with the advent of modern technology and personal computers, tablets, smart- phones and the Internet, people have moved away from heading to their local library and do a majority of research from the comfort of their own home. But it's rather difficult to accomplish projects at your kitchen table if you can't get a reliable wireless connection. And that's the case in certain areas of Southern Indiana. Many of the residents in the rural spots of Floyd and Clark counties aren't able to receive a satisfactory wireless con- nection, and even struggle to get proper cell service. Thankfully, the Floyd County Library System has come to the rescue with a new location. On Sept. 8, the community wel- comed the Galena Digital Library. Here, patrons can easily access the Internet and download books, movies, music and au- dio files to their personal devices. They can also check out tablets and use them at the library, and they even have good old- fashioned books, too. The digital library is on U.S. High- way 150 in a quaint, historic two-story house built in 1843. The home has the ambiance of a cute gingerbread cottage where your great-great-great grandpar- ents might have lived. Though the house is 175 years old, the interior is fit for mod- ern times. The completion of this project is due to the dedication of Floyd County Library director Melissa Merida and Ga- lena Digital Library lead Brenda Kenne- dy-Snyder, along with their team of hard- working employees. The library started as a dream and evolved into an amazing reality. "We've tried to think out of the box, and how can we provide services to the community and really identify their needs," Merida said. The digital branch fell right in line with their objective to reach more patrons. "When I first came to the library sys- tem, I knew that we had a very large issue with our population that live where I call 'up the hill' — our rural areas that don't have connectivity," she said. "Even in the major subdivisions, they cannot get the connection that they need because of the geographic layout of the land." Her goal was to find a way to com- bine connectivity and deliver resources. "Libraries aren't just books and mor- tar anymore," Merida said. "We have a lot of digital services, but if you can't con- nect to the Internet, then you can't even utilize the digital services." For example, the library has 92 databases available, but those without Internet are missing out on this benefit. Building a new library would have been costly, but by utilizing the historic home (which was donated to the library), along with existing library resources and monetary contributions, the project was on a trajectory toward success. "The county funded the remodel of the building and getting it ready for us," Merida said. "We also had a bequest to the library from the estate of June P. Cut- ler, and that amount was enough to com- pletely outfit the branch. Every time I tell the story, I get goosebumps." Cutler worked for New Albany High School for more than 40 years as the principal's secretary and was very well known in the education community. She left her estate to the humane society, to start a scholarship fund for nursing stu- dents and to the library. "It was just a wonderful bequest that we had no idea was headed our way," Me- rida said. "They gave us $70,000 to do the project. We were able to buy all of the fur- niture and the equipment." Merida said that the first time she saw the house on a cold, icy day in the winter, she thought the place looked pret- The digital library is on U.S. Highway 150 in a quaint, historic two-story house built in 1843. The home has the ambiance of a cute gingerbread cottage where your great-great-great grandparents might have lived.

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