Library Receives Support From Secretary Ashcroft

Luke Edwards
Posted 9/28/21

On Thursday, September 16, Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft visited the Henry County Library. The library has undergone some significant upgrades and revisions over the last two years, and …

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Library Receives Support From Secretary Ashcroft

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On Thursday, September 16, Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft visited the Henry County Library. The library has undergone some significant upgrades and revisions over the last two years, and Ashcroft, having heard about that, decided he needed a tour. Library Director Stephanie Rogers was glad to oblige.
Ashcroft spoke to Director Rogers about the importance of libraries and also shared some of his ideas concerning a budgeting plan to include long term state aid for libraries. Discussions included how it could be possible to share public library resources with other entities such as schools; some school libraries have literally shut down due to a lack of funding.
The idea behind libraries, of course, is to create life-long learners, but also provide community spaces. It could be that someday the public library might be a place to provide access to things such as DNR (Department of Natural Resources), Telehealth, or even a s place to connect for the VA (Veterans Administration) for those who could not travel.
Both Director Rogers and Secretary Ashcroft have fond memories of libraries they visited in their youth and they shared with each other how those libraries have affected them as adults in positive ways. Rogers, rightly so, is proud of the progress at the Henry County Library (including the Windsor branch). “He seemed impressed by the new interactive spaces as well as the addition of Launchpads and how they provide education to children to help close the digital divide,” said Rogers. There have been changes to almost every part of the library's collection: the staff moved well over 50,000 book to create space for patrons and provide easier access. Also, the Henry County Library recently joined a sharing consortium (Missouri Evergreen) and created a Youth Department complete with kid-sized furniture. They even have a new digital sign.
“My staff and I are excited to continue to raise the bar for library services within Henry County. We plan to set and achieve new goals annually to make certain patron needs continue to be met,” said Rogers. And she also wanted to make sure Ashcroft knew that his visit was appreciated: “The Henry County Library staff and I would like to thank Secretary of State, Jay Ashcroft for expressing his interest in our library and dedicating his time to ensure that libraries across the state are receiving the necessary funding to support the needs of their communities.”

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