Throughout 2019, 18,000 memberships were active at the local Nicholas P. Sims Library. And although libraries are a great known place to soak in some silence for studying or reading a book, they offer lesser known resources as well.
“Libraries have evolved in that we are no longer a place just for picking up a book or studying,” library Assistant Director Heather Fuller shared. “We are a meeting place, an event place, a place for people to get together and do things, as evidenced by the number of people that attend our free programs every month.”
Not only does the Nicholas P. Sims Library offer different genres of books for all ages, but they also have alternative options to "read" a book.
Of these options, physical copies, audio and e-books are offered. E-books can easily be checked out online and don't require a return, so late fees are not a concern.
Out of all items checked out last year, they included a total of 123,000 physical books, 11,200 e-books and 8,205 audio books.
Additionally, the library receives new books fairly close to their release date. According to Jennifer Graf, the Youth Services Librarian, they receive most of the books on the "New York Times best seller" list. The library accepts book requests from community members, and staff do their best to obtain the books desired.
The Nicholas P. Sims Library provided a list of the top books checked out in 2019:
The top adult fiction book was "New Iberia Blues" by James Lee Burke. It was checked out 25 times.
The top teen fiction book included the series of "The Legend of Zelda."
The top children’s fiction book was "Marvin K. Mooney, Will you please go now?" by Dr. Seuss. It was checked out 24 times.
Activities, resources to check out
New items at the library that are available for checkout include activity backpacks, ozobot robotics and WiFi hotspots.
Activity backpacks hold books that follow a certain theme on a particular topic. Parents can check these out for learning purposes. These can be checked out for six weeks at a time, as the time frame has been extended due to current construction.
Ozobots are robotics now available to the community. These robotics can be taken home and learned from. They serve to help kids with coding or teach more on the topic. They can be checked out for one week at a time.
According to Graf, WiFi hotspots are a resource the community knows least about. They can be checked out for free, for one week at a time.
They recently put an order in to receive more WiFi hotspots.
“It’s all about giving access to people based on what they need or what they may not have access to at home,” Graf said.
Computers are also available to the community. They can be used inside the library during hours of operation. Last year, the public computers were used 10,700 times.
DVDs and CDs can also be checked out.
Last year, 24,569 DVDs were checked out at the library, with the most popular titles being "Venom" and "The Lion King."
The most popular CD checkouts were by the singers B.B. King and Eric Clapton.
The library also offers many clubs and programs for different age groups.
“We have story times three times a week for different age groups, 3 Adult, a Tween, and a Teen Bookclub,” she said. “We also have ATLAS – At The Library After School for a weekly program for tweens ages 8-12 picking back up in March.”
They also offer reading challenges throughout the year. The most popular one is the summer reading challenge.
All programs provided through the library are free to the public. A library card is not required to be a member or to attend. Library cards are only necessary to check out items.
How to sign up for a library card
In order to use the resources outside of the library, people need to have a library card.
Those that live within the city limits of Waxahachie can receive a card at no cost. They must bring a form that shows proof of residency, such as a water bill.
People who live outside of the city limits can still apply for a card. However, there is a fee of $35, which covers the entire household for a year. This covers the taxes paid through Waxahachie residents.
Students who attend any school within WISD can apply for a free library card, despite where they live. So far, the library has had 900 WISD students sign up.
Although the library is going through a construction phase, it is still open to the public. Current hours of operation are Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Saturday, the library is open 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Graf is very excited about when construction is complete.
“So what I’m most excited about is that we will have another program area, up there; it will be a bigger space. We’ve really been focusing on our programs,” Graf said. “It will give us more flexibility to offer more programming, at the same time.”
Fuller believes turnout will increase after construction work is finished.
“While the library is under construction, I can see we will have smaller turnout; however, once construction is complete and we are more readily available for patrons to get to the building,” Fuller said, “I see more and more people coming to the library. So while turnout may be smaller this year, I believe next year will have many more visitors.”
For more information on programs or library services, visit https://www.simslib.org/ .