Wilson Library aims to please
Wilson Librarian, Linda Dawson, feels with the consolidation of schools and changes in the town's population that many have forgotten about the Wilson Public Library.
Dawson explains that the first library in Wilson was started on Nov. 10 1936 and was a city library located in a tiny room in the upstairs of a doctors office.
"So of the local ladies got together and started a library," Dawson said. "They would charge a membership to use the library. The city library eventually became a county library. The first county librarian I can remember in Wilson was Marion Beall. That was in the 50s and at that time the library had been moved to a small office building next door to where we are now." About 25 years ago the Wilson Cooperative Club ladies and a grant that the city obtained allowed the Wilson Public Library to expand at its current location 1 Park Street. A room was added to the back to allow for more space.
Dawson, who has been librarian at the Wilson Public Library for 20 years, has seen not only the building change but the services.
"I've seen everything," Dawson said. "Just in the size of the building and activities for the young people. We have so much more in just my 20 years here. When we started out we would have a lady come from Blytheville one day a week during the summer to do a story time. Now we do arts and crafts, live shows, and a variety of programs. We also have computers where we can offer free internet access. We also offer free Wi-Fi." Dawson said attendance used to be a lot more but the town had a bigger population then but she says the library has been able to bring in people from Joiner, Carson Lake and Golden Lake as well as other outlying rural areas. Dawson said when the schools consolidated a lot of children stopped coming to the library after school because they are now on a bus longer and don't get home in time to use the library.
"I'm pleased that we still have people using the library here on a regular bases but circulation does seem to be a little less than it used to be," Dawson said. "I think people aren't coming in because they are able to download ebooks, which is wonderful our library system can provide that. We still have children as well as adults that come into use our computers, the copier, and the fax machine." Dawson said the library is able to provide services the town wouldn't have if it didn't have a library but feels it is a constant effort to promote reading books.
"On the holidays we try to special activities for the young people and I try to partner with the Headstart to offer programs to them," Dawson said. "Even with the circulation we have I would like to see our people come back to the library like they used to. We really need to keep our library here not just for our books but for the services we provide. We need people to use the library." Dawson said the Wilson Public Library provides the latest books and magazines just like all the other libraries in the county. She says if there is a book that library doesn't have she can always get it. The Wilson Public Library is open 11:30 to 4:30 Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
"We don't want people to forget we are here," Dawson said. "The new owners of our community are doing all kinds of things to improve our city as a whole and we want them to see our library is an important part of this town. We want people to support us and our community."