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The Juniata County Library continues to learn and grow

MIFFLINTOWN — The Juniata County Library experienced a period of learning and growing during calendar year 2018 and, according to Library Director Vince Giordano, more of the same is expected this year.

Giordano was on hand at Tuesday’s business meeting of the Juniata County Commissioners to present his annual “State of the Library” report, noting, “We continue to offer opportunities for reading, learning and growth to people of all ages and backgrounds that have been proven to transform lives.”

During calendar year 2018, Giordano said the Juniata County Library offered free or low-cost learning opportunities, including technology courses for how to use iPads, Microsoft Excel, Gmail, Windows 10 and the online catalog, as well as courses on practical gardening for healthy food, crocheting, essential oils, and learning about the Holocause through literature and film.

Also new in 2018 was an initiative to conduct bi-monthly staff training which equips staff and volunteers in new and emerging skills to better serve library patrons. “We are able to assist you in your inquiries including, but not limited to, printing directly from your phone, faxing, scanning and copying documents, finding free tax forms, and conducting local history research,” Giordano said.

Calling youth programming the library’s “crowning achievement,” Giordano said the library attracted over 2,900 participants through 140 programs, including the summer reading program, special holiday programming, activities for students on ACT 180 days, and the now-famous Candy Land Scavenger Hunt. “All of our programs provide new approaches to learning through hands-on activities,” Giordano pointed out.

Giorado said during 2018, the library had 11,057 cardholders, 50,538 visits, and 42,429 items in the library collection. There were also 4,227 uses of the library’s computers, 2,776 uses of public Wi-Fi, and 104 uses of mobile hotspots.

Looking toward the future, Giordano said, “As we venture into 2019, we are looking at the end of our four-year strategic plan and considering what new priorities we will shift our focus to next. We are working on ideas for diverse outreach in the county, a new website, new shelving displays and layouts, and the second annual Festival in the Park.”

Following Giordano’s presentation, Commissioner Alice Gray commented, “We appreciate the quality you provide at the library.”

Commissioner Mark Partner added, “A lot of people may not be aware of this, but the Juniata County Library is a standard library in the state of Pennsylvania, based on its size and the amount of funding available.”

In other business Tuesday, Mike Hannon, executive director of the Tri-County Drug and Alcohol Commission, was on hand to announce that his agency recently received a Funding Initiative Agreement grant that is being used to add two case manager positions on the area’s continuous fight against the opioid crisis.

“We’re really excited about this,” Hannon said. “These case managers will be able to serve a population not traditionally dealt with, not just those without health insurance.”

Hannon also reported that after reporting to the state that the commission is starting to run low on funding, “We got notification that we’ll be receiving an additional $114,000, so that’s a positive. It’s very exciting.”

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners:

¯ Adopted a resolution stating the county’s support of a statewide initiative that is “Stepping up to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails.” Regarding the resolution, Gray stated, “This is a national program. We aren’t providing any services yet. By doing this, we are stating we agree with the philosophy to give these people the help they need, which is not in county jails.”

¯ Approved the submission of the “Emergency Management Performance Grant” for federal fiscal year 2019 which will be used for salary reimbursement in the county’s emergency service department.

¯ Ratified a Home Housing Rehab Project check in the amount of $12,575.25 to BK Bower for a rehab project.

¯ Ratified the following Juniata County Hazardous Materials checks: $441 to Casner’s Service Center for repairs; $70.85 to Wex Bank for the purchase of fuel; and $1,798 to the Juniata County Commissioners for reimbursement.

¯ Ratified payment of two weeks worth of bills in the amount of $234,643.78.

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