Macon Community News

The Macon Newsroom

Macon Community News

The Macon Newsroom

Macon Community News

The Macon Newsroom

Washington Memorial Library Creates Programs to Improve Literacy Rates in Macon

Megan Jackson
The Washington Memorial Library located on Washington Ave. Washington Memorial Library celebrated its 100th birthday in November of 2023.

Macon’s Washington Memorial Library offers many different free services to the public, including services with the goal of increasing literacy rates and creating programming for adults.

“I have a core mission, and that is to increase the literacy rate in the county, and to increase circulation in library card sign-ups, and to do adult programming around books,” says Rebekah Scarborough, Washington Memorial Library’s adult literacy librarian. 

According to Scarborough, it is difficult to statistically measure the impact of the adult literacy position because it was created within the last 16 months. However, she has seen signs of literacy improvement in Macon-Bibb County. “The dropout rate is decreasing, which is a really good indicator,” says Scarborough.

According to a press release from the Bibb County School District, Bibb County schools have a graduation rate of 87.07% as of 2023, a 6.09% increase from 2022. 

Scarborough also says increases in book circulation within the library is a good indicator of increasing literacy rates. According to her, circulation of adult fiction and non-fiction novels has seen an increase in adult programming.

“My core goal is always to, in any way, make adults kind of reengage with the library,” says Scarborough. Programs such as adult book clubs, Reader’s Advisory, and tutorials on how to navigate online materials and request materials throughout the PINES Library system all help to increase library interest. 

Reader’s Advisory, also known as Book Chats, is a service Scarborough offers in order to help people find a book that best serves their needs and interests. “It’s kind of like being a book apothecary,” she says. 

Book Chats offer library patrons the chance to sit down one-on-one with a librarian and discuss the books they have read in the past and expand literary horizons, according to Scarborough. To schedule a Book Chat, people can visit the Middle Georgia Regional Library’s website.

“About 200 books have been added to the collection that have been directly because I got to know more patrons on a one-on-one basis,” Scarborough says. “The more I get to do the Reader’s Advisory and the book chats, the more reflective the collection as a whole is what the people of Macon want and need.”

In addition to Book Chats and book clubs, Scarborough says the library is developing a nutrition literacy program, set to launch in January. Amy Williams, the owner of Carnivore Nutrition, will be leading the free program with the goal of increasing knowledge about nutrition facts and myths, and how to read and understand the elements of nutrition labels.

According to Scarborough, the Washington Memorial Library is so much more than just four walls. “Just in this one building we have children’s services, we have adult technology services, we have genealogy, we have circulation and that’s just in this one building.”

Through continued programming and community involvement, Scarborough believes the library is a place for the people of Macon-Bibb County to continue to grow and learn.

“The library offers something that there really is no substitution for,” Scarborough says.  



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