District Library expands hours

MARTINS FERRY – February is Library Lovers’ Month, and the Martins Ferry Public Library has extra reason to celebrate.

Thanks to a levy passed during the November election, the library was able to overcome cuts in funding. Martins Ferry is now the Main Branch in the newly created Belmont County District Library system, which includes branches in Bridgeport, Shadyside, Powhatan Point, Bethesda, and Flushing (Victoria Read branch).

On Feb. 1, hours at the Main Branch will expand, to be as follows: Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hours will be expanded at other branches on March 1.

Throughout February, patrons can donate a non-perishable item for the food bank and in exchange the library will waive 50 percent of any fines. The library is hoping to see patrons clear out old charges. Fines are 20 cents per day per item, with a maximum of $10 per item. The library will also be taking entries for a drawing to win a book bag, mug, or collectible t-shirt.

There will be programming for children throughout February until March 13. At that point there will be a two-week break with programming to resume on March 31.

Toddler Time will be held Mondays at 10 a.m., Preschool Storytime on Tuesdays at 1 p.m., All Ages Storytime on Mondays at 5:30 p.m., and Baby Time on Thursdays at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. To register, call the library at 633-0314, or go to www.mfpl.org. The programs are all free.

At the Shadyside and Bethesda branches, reading groups are popular. Anyone who would like to join can visit their library for more details. In the summer, the library will offer a reading program to support children’s literacy.

Belmont County District Library Director Yvonne Myers says the programs and events are a way of saying thank you to patrons.

“It’s a way to show our patrons we love them, especially for passing the library levy,” she said. “People do want to see programs and come to the library for different things.”

Myers wants to get the word out about services many library patrons may not know about. The library provides access to databases including a magazine database called Zinio, which works on most digital devices. The catalog at mfpl.org can be used to browse the whole district system and place holds or renew items, while the e-library can be used to download e-books. Also, tax forms are available in the lobby.

All Ohio library cards and services are free, while out-of-state cards are available for a $5 annual fee. To apply for a library card, bring a photo ID with an address. The application process takes only minutes, and the benefits are immeasurable.

Warner may be reached at mwarner@timesleaderonline.com.