LARL representatives are reaching out to communities home to branch libraries like Crookston, which has its third largest branch

    The Lake Agassiz Regional Library system serves over 145,000 Minnesota residents in seven counties and, with that, comes the need to gather public input via forums held at their larger branches. Tuesday evening at the Crookston Public Library, a small crowd weighed in on what’s “going well” and how they can better serve or improve services.

    Perhaps one of the more in-depth questions asked by Crookston Mayor Wayne Melbye was if the library would be “negatively impacted” if the city ever opened a youth center, and library director Chris Boike was quick to respond with, “No, probably not.”

    “Kids come here to hang out inside and outside, and maybe not necessarily in positive ways sometimes when they’re outside, but this is city property and it’s a privilege to be here,” said Boike.

    “How many kids that come to hang out at the library actually have or get library cards?” asked Mark Anderson bluntly to which Boike replied that the majority of kids do and that they “encourage them” to check out books or graphic novels and read.

    Other topics of discussion were the influx in electronic books (eBooks) to which the LARL system has over 84,000 to choose from, public use of computers, printing (which has seen a large increase after most state departments and organizations have their forms and booklets completely online), and proctoring students.

    “We have seen an increasing need for proctors as there are a lot more online students now,” explained Boike. “We’ve had at least six this summer with students attending online classes from all over.”

    The Crookston Public Library is LARL’s third largest branch, alongside Moorhead and Detroit Lakes. LARL has a new app “LARL Mobile”, a “one-stop access to everything you love about your library” that allows one-click access to eBooks and eAudiobooks, find locations and events near you, manage your account and access online services.

    Note: LARL’s budget request from the City of Crookston for 2018 is approximately $220,000, an increase from the City’s 2017 allocation. City officials haven’t begun in-depth discussions on LARL’s request, but City Finance Director Angel Weasner said this week that, similar to previous years, LARL officials have indicated that if their budget request for the Crookston branch is not met, services and/or hours would be reduced at the local library.