East New Orleans Regional Library Executive Director
Written by Andrea Blumenstein
What is the impact of the regular Story Time and what do community members need to know about bringing their children?
During story times, children experience talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing, all of which lead to the development of critical early literacy skills all while emphasizing that reading is something that can be a lot of fun. The East New Orleans Regional Library host two weekly Story Times. For children ages 2-8, every Tuesday at 5 p.m. we have a story time and craft and every Thursday at 10:30 am we have our baby storytime with music and rhymes for newborns through 18 months.
What impact does the Library App have on your ability to service the population?
The NOLA Library app allows anyone with a mobile device to take the library with them wherever they go. With the app, people can use their mobile device to read on e-book, access their library card account, search our catalog, learn about upcoming events, find the nearest library, and much more.
One really cool feature that the NOLA Library app offers is the ability to scan a book’s barcode to see if the Library has it in the collection. If you are at a store, you can check to see if we have the book before buying it, which can save you money.
Can you give me a preview of the Summer Reading Program?
This year’s Summer Reading Program is packed with hundreds of free and fun events for everyone at all library locations throughout June and July, as well as rewards and challenges for the number of pages read. At the East New Orleans Regional Library alone we are offering dozens of programs. For children, just a few of the many things we have planned are a visit from the New Orleans Fire Department, family movie nights, a magician performance, hula hoop lessons, and the Audubon Zoo will visit with their wetland creatures. For teens, there will be computer coding classes, a t-shirt pillow craft, button making workshops, and much more. Just some of the programs for adults include wine and coloring nights, book clubs, crafting sessions, and a writing contest. Everyone can sign up for the Summer Reading Program at any library location, or on NOLALibrary.org.
As a part of the East NOLA BDD, what changes have you seen over your tenure at the library that you are particularly proud of?
The East New Orleans Regional Library is one of the system’s top performing locations and I’m particularly proud of the way the community has embraced all that we offer. At any time of day, there are always people at the East New Orleans Regional Library, which is one of our largest locations and is also one of our locations that is open seven days a week.
What impact does the Library have as a member of the community and part of the East NOLA BDD?
In 2016, system-wide, over 1.3 million items were checked out, and we had over 1.6 million library visits last year, with both of those numbers increasing from 2015. There were over 392,000 computer sessions, 51,316 people attended library programs, and we issued almost 26,000 new library cards. The people of New Orleans really do love their libraries, which makes us really proud.
System-wide we average around 50-60 programs each week, so there is a lot to keep up with, and we try to provide as many ways as possible for people to do that. One of the easiest ways is to sign up for our weekly email updates, which is available on our website, NOLALibrary.org. You can sign up for a weekly email about children’s programs, teen programs, adult programs, or all programs.
What services does the library offer to aid the community in the East?
Online homework help can be found on our website through HomeworkLouisiana, which offers live online tutors, skill building, a writing and career center, as well as adult education resources. Several of our locations offer homework clubs for teens.
The Library has partnered with the YMCA’s YES! Program to provide services at the Main Library and also at the East New Orleans Regional Library. The YES! Program provides assistance with adult literacy, one-on-one assistance with computer training, as well as job application assistance. The Library provides many computer training classes both in person and online. An in-person Computer Basics class takes place on the first and third Wednesday of each month from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. and an in-person Device Advice class on the second and fourth Saturday of each month from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. There are many online computer and career assistance resources available on our website, NOLALibrary.org.