EDITORIAL: Joplin Public Library has lots to offer

Mar. 16—The Joplin Public Library has established a new strategic plan, and it's one that centers us, the community, and seeks to broaden our horizons and expand our minds.

The strategic plan, developed by library administrators and the board of trustees, lists core values of respect, relationships, service, kindness and friendliness, inclusion, collaboration and flexibility, and a safe environment. Based on those values, five goals for the library were developed: service, awareness, outreach, inclusion and enrichment.

The library's mission and vision statements also speak to the direction administrators want to go. The vision: "Our library is a welcoming community where learning and connection grow, and lives are enriched." The mission: "Our library opens tomorrow's doors today through diverse opportunities to learn, create, explore and have fun."

"Diverse opportunities" — that pretty much sums up the library of the 21st century, and the Joplin library is no exception. It's more than a place that offers books and magazines for reading. It offers programs specifically for children and teens. It hosts an online database of resources for topics as diverse as legal assistance and home repair. The building itself has community rooms that can be rented for public events. It also has a free makerspace where people can gather to create, explore, share, tinker and discover using a variety of tools and materials.

The library has even found ways to serve its community during the pandemic. During the worst of the COVID-19 season, it offered curbside pickup of library materials for patrons. And it will partner with the Area Agency on Aging to provide free COVID-19 vaccine registration assistance from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday of this week.

But if you want to get back to basics and it's books you're after, then there's no better time than now to check out the library. March is designated as National Reading Month (in recognition of Dr. Seuss' birthday on March 2), so make a list of those books that you've always wanted to read and head on down to 1901 E. 20th St. Need a library card? No problem. Registering for one is simple; you can even start the process online at joplinpubliclibrary.org.

Joplin is lucky to have such a beautiful new library with staff who are committed to serving their community in the best way possible.