Page Public Library is a star library

Photo by Bob Hembree

The Library Journal has announced its star libraries for 2020, and yes, the Page Public Library is one of them.  

The Library Journal is pleased to announce the results of the 13th edition of the LJ Index of Public Library Service. The LJ Index rates U.S. public libraries based on selected per capita output measures.

The 2020 Index derives from data recently released by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Page Public Library, or the PPL, plays a critical role in connecting community members to vital resources and programs, they are the heart of the Page community. They are accessible and safe spaces, providing access to huge resources of information and knowledge.

PPL provides free public access to computer and information technology resources; they help people to locate information thus creating better-informed communities; we run programs that promote lifelong learning and literacy in the community; and we build connections between individuals, groups, and government. 

“Having the library open has been so vital for the community. We’re able to provide the help and access needed to apply for unemployment and jobs,” said Mikalah Lee, the reference librarian at PPL. “They’re able to do everything they need to at a time where the internet is crucial and not accessible to everyone. Without the library, I feel that a lot of people in our community would be without these resources that are so important. We are very happy to provide our help in these times.”

Library Manager Debbie Winlock said the Page Public Library is not only about books, but it is also about providing for community needs. 

“With the support of Lynn Cormier, our community and recreation services director, the library staff is able to think creatively and embrace innovation into our services and programs,” said Debbie Winlock, manager for PPL. “We try to provide services that meet all the needs of the community around us.

“When the library closed its doors to the public in March of 2020, we did not shut down our services. We instituted curbside service which included loaning out material such as books, DVDs, cake pans, and sports equipment. We provided faxing, copying, and notary service.”

Debbie Winlock said shutting down PPL completely would have had a tremendous impact on the community that it serves.

“This is the time when people need us the most,” she added. 

PPL gave out 8,989 meals to children 0-18 years of age in 2020. In November and in December, PPL staff gave out 410 backpack meals to families. A total of 979 kids were given toys through the Toy for Tots program in December.

The children’s department also provides take-home activities for children and online storytime. 

Kierra Campbell, the children’s library coordinator said, “Although we miss our in-person programming, activities, and services, now more than ever, our community needs to stay connected. One way we stay connected is through our Facebook live ‘Story Time’ that we do (every) Monday, Wednesday, and (on) Friday at 10 a.m. We also give out meals and give out weekly crafts and activities.

“These are the perfect children-friendly programs that are a great alternative, until we can meet and do the fun things we like to do, in person,” Campbell said.

The PPL received grants to purchase Wi-Fi Mobile Hot Spots and Chrome laptops to loan out to families and students and a virtual engagement toolkit to provide virtual programming. 

The grants were to help advance digital equity in Page. Provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the funding will be used by the library to expand digital inclusion efforts and provide technical support, especially for workforce development and broadband availability. 

“All community members have the right to digital resources like high-speed broadband that are essential for learning, working, and daily life,” Winlock said. “Our library strives to provide barrier-free access to broadband, and this CARES Act grant will put us closer to that goal.

“The communities we serve will benefit tremendously from this funding, and we look forward to implementing new programs and expanding our existing resources to support digital equity for all our patrons.”

The Arizona State Library received the funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to support libraries in responding to the coronavirus pandemic. 

We look forward to serving our community in 2021.