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Library asks patrons to geek out
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Newton County Library System officials are encouraging patrons to show off their passions through the national “Geek the Library” campaign.

Playing on one definition of “geek,” the new campaign uses it as a verb, encouraging “the public to talk about what they ‘geek’— whether it’s engineering, superheroes or art.

The public awareness campaign illustrates the fact that everyone is passionate about something — everyone ‘geeks’ something — and that the library supports them all,” according to a press release.

Newton Library director Lace Keaton said it’s a talking point to get people interested in the library and to help them discover they can pursue their passions through the library’s resources.

At the recent library festival, patrons, staff and community leaders all had photos taken with books and other items that displayed their passions. Those photos are displayed on monitors in the library, and patrons also can get “geek” photos taken at the library.

The program will run through September, and Keaton said more specific events will be offered over the next four months.

“This campaign is designed to provoke conversation about the vital role that public libraries and librarians play in today’s challenging environment,” said Cathy De Rosa, global vice president of marketing for Online Computer Library Center, a nonprofit library cooperative that led the campaign’s development and conducted a pilot campaign from June 2009 to April 2010.

“We hope it will spark important community discussions about how public libraries can remain strong.”

According to a press release, as the economy slowly recovers, millions of Americans are turning to local libraries for educational opportunities, job-searching resources and entertainment.

“The increased demand for library services is taking a toll on libraries already experiencing flat or decreasing budgets. State and local cuts are impacting public library hours, programs and staffing, forcing some libraries to close indefinitely. While most people have visited their public library and understand its important role in their community, many do not know that libraries are at risk or that local funding for libraries is heavily influenced by community members,” according to the release.

“This public awareness campaign hopes to start conversations about library funding to inspire more people to take personal responsibility for keeping their local public libraries vital in their communities.”

The library is not expected to receive any additional funding from either the county or city of Covington next fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2014.

For more information, visit a Newton County library or visit online.