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Broome County Public Library

September 6, 2009

This article appeared today in the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin.

September 6, 2009

Broome’s best friend: the library

Find books, movies, Internet at county facility – all free

By Margaret Coffey

It’s an expansive building, and thousands pass it daily. But do you know what’s inside?

A dedicated staff of 32 keeps coming up with new ways to make the library an essential part of everybody’s life. Choose your favorite genre and join our online book club. You’ll receive snippets of popular books in your email five days a week. How’s that for a great new program to serve busy readers?

The nine-year-old Broome County Public Library building was funded by tobacco settlement funds and private donations – and no local tax dollars – to offer 200,000 books, DVDs, music CDs, audio books, videos, microfilm, maps and pamphlets. It houses 66 public-access computers, a wireless network, an Envisionware computer reservation system and two standalone PCs for children – but that’s just the start. It’s also a place where people interact with other people, binding the community close.

* Its staff answers 60,000 reference questions per year, including a growing number of electronic inquiries.

* Some 30,000 information seekers visit the Local History and Genealogy Center annually.

* Knowledgeable teachers conduct programs for adults on subjects such as buying and selling on eBay and using computers.

* The community is invited to enjoy dramatic short story readings, book discussion groups, knitting circles and the like.

* A Sorenson Video Phone gives sign language communication via video.

* Volunteers come in to offer free tax preparation through AARP from February through April.

* Local artists’ works are displayed at no charge.

* Portfolios Café offers a take-out or eat-in lunch menu for library-goers, Monday through Friday.

* Infants and pre-schoolers enjoy daily story hour programs.

* Homeschoolers incorporate library visits into their curriculum.

* SCORE volunteers meet monthly to advise new businesses.

All that – and free borrowing privileges for a million items that can also be ordered from other local libraries.

BCPL has been an integral part of Southern Tier life since 1904, and it’s getting better all the time. A Library Reading Garden opened this spring and is accessible for private events. Great new books and periodicals – as well as audio and visual material -are always being added to the library’s shelves.

Visit the library to research your family tree – or learn about constellations, low-fat cooking or any other subject under the sun. Text us, e-mail us, come in and talk to us in person, and we’ll help you investigate whatever topic spurred your interest.

Use the library’s computers to draft a resume and use its WiFi to check your email. “Rent” a DVD or CD without paying a cent. Read a poem in the garden. Call your meeting to order in one of the library’s meeting rooms. Show your paintings to the world.

We can even send our personnel into your workplace and help you with business research – at no cost. Just call us at 778-6451 and tell us what you need.

Clearly BCPL has evolved into a space where technology and the arts combine to feed the minds and souls of its community. During difficult times, BCPL can be your anchor, a place of solace, activity and information for people of all ages.

Use the library, and please feel free to suggest ways we can make it even more useful to you.

The BCPL is here for you, six days of the week and online 24/7 – so when time comes for politicians to make decisions about increasingly difficult budgets, remind them not to impede the Broome County Public Library’s ability to be your family’s source of knowledge, recreation and enjoyment.

Additional Facts
If you go

The Broome County Public Library, at 185 Court St. in Binghamton, is open Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (but closed Labor Day).

* Phone: (607) 778-6400

* Online:

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