WMUB Reports: The Role of Local Libraries


My name is Jeanne Peloquin and I’m the marketing coordinator here at the middle Georgia regional library.

The Georgia Regional Library is a pretty exceptional library system in the state. I guess there are things that are happening here in Macon, that are not happening anywhere else in the state. One of the things that we really pride ourselves on is being what we call a community embedded library. What that means is that we listen to community demand and we make our services based on that community.

So one of the biggest things is that we have a business and nonprofit center here, and that is a place where people can come to access resources that typically are pretty high there. There’s a big barrier to access third at expensive. They’re hard to access. For example, we have market research software here where if someone is wanting to start a new business, they can come and do market research to find out who their competitors might be and what they might want their exact need to be. Because, you know, the more honed in you can be on your market, the better you can be competitive. And also people can research their potential customers through their market research as well. And they can also take classes which are completely free. And so from then on, the business nonprofit sector is a perfect example of how that came to be. Actually, between our four making branches, we have over 100 classes a month and a lot of them are technology centered. So we have things like coding and web design and 3D printing and things like that, which are kind of on the more technologically savvy end. But then we also have Microsoft Word and Office and PowerPoint and Excel, and those are things where a lot of employers require them now.

And so if you don’t have those skills, you kind of automatically, you know, you’re out of the running for a lot of especially kind of good, good jobs. So we offer classes on those things multiple times a month at various locations. And then kind of further down the spectrum still we have classes for, you know, basic computer use, you know, and especially people who, you know, maybe older or may just not be comfortable with computers. So if everything from real beginner classes up through a really pretty sophisticated classes, we are an embedded library. And so we’re listening to what the needs of the community are.

And our mission is to make sure that people have the information they need to live better lives. Basically, it’s an interest. We’re at an interesting time in the library of the traditional roles that we’ve played in both the books and the story time. And those are all actually still very widely used.

But we’re also looking at ways that we can meet the needs of the community in other ways. One of the things that makes the library really, really special is it’s one of the few places in the community where there is no transactional expectation in order to be able to fully participate. So you don’t have to buy anything. You don’t have to believe certain beliefs. All you have to do is show up and you got the same equal treatment that everybody else does.