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Arts Kits, Bird Boxes, and online books at the Weller library in 2024

The Board of Trustees met on January 9

WAITSBURG – The Weller Library Board of Trustees met for its monthly meeting on January 9. Present were Chair Marie Gagnon, Rebecca Wilson, Sherri Erikson, Beka Compton, Library Supervisor Sarah Roberts, and City Council representative Jillian Henze. Vice-Chair Jim Leid was absent.

Roberts reported that community members and participating businesses expressed appreciation for the StoryWalk program held in December, while the library saw increased foot traffic and book circulations during the month.

The lending circulation has increased each year since 2020. In 2023, 1,586 items were checked out, an increase of 24% over the previous year. Patron's use of the Washington Anytime Library, a digital reading and audiobook lending platform, increased with 2,315 transactions at year's end. The program to give Waitsburg schools' students and staff access to the public library added 414 new accounts.

Programming continues this winter with a Burke Box on birds loaned from the museum. It will be shared by library staff at the Waitsburg schools from January 17 to 31 and at the Lewis & Clark winter camp at Fort Clatsop on February 14 and 28. The boxes will also be available at the library.

The library will participate in the Arts Kits Program, created and funded by ArtWalla, on the first and second Saturdays of the month starting February 3 and running through August 10. Each art kit focuses on an artistic discipline and style, including Impressionist painting, working with clay, and weaving. Each box features an artist accomplished in that style, a tie-in book, and a project participants can work on. Take-and-make kits will also be available for community members who cannot attend sessions.

During spring break, April 1-5, Weller Library will participate in the Smokey the Bear Reading Challenge, sponsored by the USDA Forest Service, to celebrate Smokey's 80th birthday. The program teaches youth about land conservation, forest life, and wildfire prevention while exploring their local environment.

This year's summer reading program is "Read, Renew, Repeat," the 2024 iRead theme will explore the conservation movement, focusing on protecting species from extinction, maintaining and restoring habitats, enhancing ecosystem services, and protecting biological diversity. iREAD is a nonprofit project developed by the Illinois Library Association and used by libraries and states nationwide. Learn more at

The library board continues to work on facility maintenance and upgrades. After painting the library's front rooms, the contractor, Meticulous Touch, LLC, will tackle the Children's Room. A timeline for that job has yet to be set, but Roberts hopes to rearrange a portion of the front area to accommodate children's books during painting so there are no disruptions for the younger clientele. The community will be notified when the painting has been scheduled.The board members discussed ADA compliance issues involving signage and the recent bathroom updates identified during a recent visit by an insurance risk manager. The Weller Public Library and the Friends of the Library installed a lift and updated the bathroom to bring the facility into compliance with the ADA Act. These changes ensure the library can continue serving the community at 212 Main Street in Waitsburg.

Roberts spoke to the board about needed updates to the collection, including library and archival materials, some of which could be digitized. Other items that need attention are related to the building and local history, which are of strong interest to patrons.

Stay in touch with library announcements and activities on the Weller Facebook page and the website

Nominations for officer positions starting in 2024 were accepted: Compton for Chair, Leid for Vice-Chair, and Wilson as Secretary.

In other related news, Fanny Weller, founder of Weller Public Library, was recently covered in snow, frozen in time.


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