By Sylvia O’Bear
The mission of the Middle Georgia Regional Library System is to connect all people to the information necessary to improve their lives through excellent services and materials. The strength of the system rests in the commitment to meet the needs of Middle Georgians. This responsibility has grown since COVID-19 and has allowed staff to recommit themselves to the mission. In a time of uncertainty, MGRL has become more community-based by offering patrons access to high-quality modern libraries in innovative and creative ways during the pandemic.
On November 15, Middle Georgia Regional revealed a new book bike to expand the Library Without Walls (Library WoW). Library WoW serves a wide variety of Macon-Bibb County residents through outreach and collaboration with a heavy focus on populations who may have difficulty accessing traditional library services. Mostly these patrons include senior citizens, the homeless, those who have been incarcerated, and those who might not be comfortable accessing physical library spaces. The tricycle was custom-made by Pedal Positive to support becoming closer to the community by picking up the branch and bringing it to them. The bike is eyecatching, fresh, the only one in Bibb County, and a statement piece for the system. Also, it joins the Library WoW bookmobile that was made possible by the Griffith Foundation and revealed in July.
To keep public interest and remain a progressive place to learn, the Middle Georgia Regional Library System programs have been designed to enrich the lives of residents from young to old. The regional headquarters at Washington Memorial Library (WML) partnered with local astronomer Philip Groce to host a planetary exploration event, Month of Mars. Patrons observed the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars through astronomical telescopes. This was the closest and brightest Mars would be to Earth until the year 2035 for viewing. The program was such a success WML and Groce collaborated again on December 21, 2020 to present the ‘Winter Solstice: The Great Conjunction’ to view Saturn and Jupiter and prove that the library can take you anywhere.
The Middle Georgia Regional Library System is always moving across its 13 branches in six counties: Bibb, Crawford, Jones, Macon, Twiggs, and Wilkinson. From discussing the reality of growing up in the Shurling Library’s ‘Adulting 101 Series’, or showing patrons the importance of media literacy at the Charles A. Lanford, M.D. Library, opening a new branch, Bloomfield Library which is the first recreation center in Bibb County to host a STEM Lab, computer coding classes, and internet bar. MGRL is setting the bar as one of the larger systems in Georgia and believing their role is to set the standard for excellent library service in the state.
Photo credit: Mike Young