Library continues legacy of excellence

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 4, 2004

It isn’t every year that Selma celebrates a 100-year anniversary.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Selma-Dallas County Public Library. Becky Nichols, the library’s executive director, will kick off the library’s centennial fund-raiser during National Library Week this month. Money gained from the fund-raiser will be used to purchase needs for the library, which will be used for generations to come.

According to Nichols, books play a vital role. They are checked out by not only students, but also schools. &uot;School librarians have become borrowers due to proration or lack of funds,&uot; Nichols said. &uot;We’re almost a resource center now for public and private schools.&uot;

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With today’s needs, Nichols must also look at purchasing large-print books and books on tape. The library needs to have the funds to buy formats people have come to enjoy. &uot;We have to cross a lot of boundaries,&uot; Nichols said.

Another aspect of the library Nichols must examine is technology. The library has 42 computer work stations, 28 of which are for public use. People can access the Internet, the Alabama Virtual Library, check their e-mail and do job searches at the computers. &uot;That list can go on and on,&uot; Nichols said. &uot;The user base requires that things be available.&uot;

But she needs the community’s help to ensure they stay available.

Nichols noted that the last time the library had a fund-raiser was about 10 years ago. In 1994 the library raised funds for its renovation and an addition. &uot;We got everything from pennies in a penny bank to donations in the thousands,&uot; Nichols said. &uot;We were able to add about 15,000 new books as well as new computers, which at that time was pretty significant. That money pushed us to a very high level.&uot;

Nichols hasn’t had a fund-raiser since 1994 because she wanted people to enjoy what they had built and not be asked for more money. However, the need to prepare the library for the next 100 years has prompted Nichols to look to the public once again. &uot;We want to maintain the level of technology for the next generations and hopefully for the next 100 years,&uot; she said.

A brochure detailing the library’s history, as well as information about its future plans, will be available April 19. People who want a brochure can contact the library at 874-1725 to request one. &uot;We now ask the public to give to the centennial fund and maintain the excellence,&uot; Nichols said. &uot;We want to maintain something that good.&uot;