FOLEY — The Foley Public Library has been awarded a four-star rating by the Library Journal, solidifying it further as a can't-miss resource in Baldwin County.John Jackson, library director, …
FOLEY — The Foley Public Library has been awarded a four-star rating by the Library Journal, solidifying it further as a can't-miss resource in Baldwin County.
John Jackson, library director, said that despite this being the seventh win in the past nine years, it is always a surprise and an honor to be recognized nationally.
"They examine our services and make a choice, but the rating is usually based on a variety of services," Jackson said. "They look at different things, like patron services, numbers and percentage of books checked out per year."
Jackson said getting more national recognition helps people in the community to understand that the library continues to make progress and help the community, despite the challenge of thriving in an increasingly digital world.
"Libraries have to evolve or we won't be relevant in the near future. We need to do more for people than just check out books," Jackson said. "Our library is constantly coming up with new ideas for how to help people. Right now, we offer computer labs, computer skill courses, programs to help create resumes and apply for jobs."
Jackson said he views the library as a community center, too, since they also host activities and community events throughout the year.
"We will often have authors come in and describe their work, and we host an annual Halloween event as well," Jackson said.
Jackson said the library is currently in a transition stage, as there are plans to open a new location in the next few years.
"Our current space is just getting to be too small," Jackson said. "The new space will have more meeting rooms, an expanded children's department, larger auditorium and more space and study rooms to accommodate visitors."
Jackson said the new library is set to occupy the lot adjacent to the dog park, with construction beginning later this year.
"We are hoping to open in early Spring 2025," Jackson said. "We also really want to expand our STEM and STEAM educational classrooms, offer more ESL courses and reach out to the Hispanic and Black communities in the area."
Jackson said being nationally recognized for the library's efforts to better themselves is what sets them apart from other libraries in the area.
"We really listen to what our patrons tell us when they come in and we are proactive in making changes," Jackson said. "We try to be active in evolving who we are and understand that you can't be sedentary and still remain a critical part of your community."