The Jackson County Commissioners recently adopted a resolution recognizing the week of April 4 through 10 as National Library Week.

Also present for that proclamation were local library directors Roger Donaldson (Jackson City Library), Karen Yablonsky (Sylvester Memorial Wellston Public Library) and Peggy Johnson (Oak Hill Public Library), who took the opportunity to tout the various services available at their respective locations.

“Next week is National Library Week, and that’s the week we usually try and promote library services like new library card sign-ups, and to basically just welcome everybody into our libraries to show what we have to offer,” Donaldson said during the Tuesday morning, March 30 meeting.

With regard to the hours of operation at the county’s three libraries as COVID-19 concerns continue, Donaldson said each location is different, as they each have varying staff sizes and building layouts. In Jackson, he said the library is open Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Donaldson added that virtual programming is also available.

In Oak Hill, Johnson said services are currently curbside only. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We have some activities planned for next week,” Johnson stated. “We have free books outside for patrons to pick up, people are still checking out books and movies, making copies and so on, we’re just not having anyone inside the building.”

Yablonsky said Wellston’s library is back to its normal hours of operation – Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We are serving the public as normal, we just ask that you wear a mask and socially distance,” she said.

Yablonsky also stated in-person programming has likewise resumed in Wellston; however, as this just restarted March 1 and the staff is trying to get back into the swing of things, she said the library is currently serving those that regularly attended story time events. Once the program is running smoothly, Yablonsky said it would be opened up to most everyone. This program is by appointment only, and those interested are asked to contact Children’s Librarian Meghan Carpenter at (740) 384-6660 to check for any open timeslots.

A number of statistics from 2019 for each of the county’s libraries were also made available to local media outlets.

Jackson City Library, in 2019, had eight staff members, had 7,689 cardholders, provided 2,496 hours of service, saw 83,958 items checked out (averaging nearly five items per person), had 15 computers (each used approximately 504 times that year), and offered 249 programs with 6,721 participants.

The Sylvester Memorial Wellston Public Library, in 2019, had 6.5 staff members, had 9,835 cardholders, provided 2,184 hours of service, saw 39,525 items checked out (averaging nearly four items per person), had eight computers (each used approximately 421 times per year), and offered 231 programs with 4,501 participants.

Oak Hill Public Library, in 2019, had 4.48 staff members, had 8,949 cardholders, provided 2,496 hours of service, saw 28,678 items checked out (averaging nearly three items per person), had 11 computers (each used approximately 253 times), and offered 36 programs with 601 participants.

“One of the biggest things we’ve done during the pandemic is provide WiFi hotspots in our parking lots, even when we were closed,” Donaldson said of all three Jackson County libraries. “We all also have circulatable WiFi hotspots people can take home with them now.”

In 2020, Donaldson said the Jackson City Library alone provided 205,000 hours of WiFi access at people’s homes.

Yablonsky likewise touted her library’s various electronic services for those with smartphones, tablets and the like.

“You can download a book, get magazines, comic books, audio books, videos -- there’s a wide assortment of items you can get through our website via Hoopla or the Ohio Digital Library,” she explained.

Prior to reading the official proclamation for National Library Week, Commissioner Jon Hensler praised the local library leaders.

“We appreciate our public libraries and appreciate you being the asset you are to the community for young and old,” he said.