Library offers fishing gear

Tyler Goerndt shows off some of the fishing gear available at the Martin County Library in Fairmont.

FAIRMONT — The Martin County Library in Fairmont has been expanding its offerings over the past few years. It offers much more than just books. It has computers that are free to use to the public and it offers DVDs and audio tapes for checkout. Recently, the library started offering fishing equipment which can be checked out by area youth. The library also recently asked the public for help in compiling a list of Little Free Library locations in town.

Library Director, Jenny Trushenski, was able to provide more information on the new offering and the recent undertaking.

“A couple of guys in town offered to donate it here,” Trushenski said of the fishing equipment. “They would be at the area lakes fishing and said they noticed kids who would be there that would want to fish but didn’t have the equipment to do it and they wondered if we’d be able to facilitate it. And I said we can put a bar code on anything and check it out,” said Trushenski.

Trushenski said that kids are the idea behind it, but that anyone can come and check out the items. The items are free to check out with a library card and Trushenski pointed out that they no longer charge late fees.

“We have tackle boxes that are equipped, fishing poles and some life jackets as well. They can take any or all of those things when they check them out and keep them for a week to use and just bring them back when they’re done,” Trushenski said.

While the donors wish to remain anonymous, Trushenski said that the main person that donated the items comes every so often to check on the equipment and see how it’s going and if anything needs to be replaced.

“Some of the checking out is so we know if we’re meeting the demand, but also to let him now how much use the items are getting “ Trushenski admitted.

One of the donors said, “We are just a group of local fishermen looking to get kids outdoors enjoying Fairmont’s beautiful lakes and scenery. Taking our community back to a time when kids focused more on good times and great memories and less on video games.”

The library just posted about this new option on its Facebook page last week and had three check-outs since then.

As Trushenski pointed out, the library is open many hours, making it an ideal place to offer different items, and because the library already has an established check-out system, it’s a good way to offer different items to the public.

The fishing equipment will be available year-round so it could be checked-out during the winter months, too.

“It’s a non-traditional thing to have in a library but when they approached me I thought why not? Libraries are starting to have different things beyond just books and DVDs and I thought this was kind of fun and if it brings more people through the doors, that’s always something we always like to see,” Trushenski said.

Switching gears to the library’s other recent endeavor, Trushenski said the Fairmont Chamber of Commerce had contacted the library about creating a list of all of the Free Little Libraries around town in order to create a map.

Little Free Library, who’s tagline is “take a book, share a book,” is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world, according to its website, littlefreelibrary.org.

The little free libraries, that often look like a little house, birdhouse or barn, have been popping up at residences around Fairmont and the neighboring communities the past few years.

“I said we could put the word out to see if people know of them or have one, and to let us know so we can collect locations and work on putting together a map,” Trushenski said.

It’s possible to get a kit to make a Little Free Library through the organization by filing out some information online and then registering your location to make it official. However, some people have just used the idea and made one on their own.

“What I’m finding is that there’s a lot more here than what’s registered on the official site. Some people like the fun idea of having a little free library in their neighborhood, so they kind of make it their own,” Tushenski said.

While people can register officially with the Little Free Library website, others put up their little library on their own without getting a kit through the organization.

“They have a listing on their website but it’s definitely not complete,” Trushenski admitted, “so we thought we could get a more complete one that would show the locations in town.”

Trushenski said the library has had about a dozen people call or message so far to let them know of Little Fee Library locations in town, but she knows there are more than that around here. There are only five locations in Fairmont registered officially through the organization.

People can call, stop in, email or contact the library via its Facebook page to give their address in order to be put on the map.

Trushenski said that if people don’t feel comfortable giving their exact address, they can provide street names, intersections, or some other general description of their location.

As Trushenski pointed out, once the map is made and information about them is available, people can either go from place to place looking for books, or donating books at the different locations.

“More access to books is always a good thing, and closer access, too. Not everyone is really close to us or can get here easily, especially kids. Kids can just walk down their street and take advantage of the Little Free Libraries and that’s great,” Trushenski said.

Once the library has a good listing of the addresses, they’ll turn over the information to the Chamber of Commerce so a map can be made.

“I think the Little Free Libraries are a great thing. It’s a great way to get books out there to people closer to where they’re living. “ Trushenski said.

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