Brown Library director: It’s premature to write obituary for books

Published 6:48 am Sunday, July 12, 2009

Managing Editor

Brown Library Director Gloria Moore is shy and soft spoken, until you get her talking about books and the value of libraries.
Then she twinkles like that little green light in the famous novel “The Great Gatsby.”
Moore has been employed by the library since 1983 and became director on July 3, 2007. In her director’s role, she orders books, oversees the overall collection of materials and delegates duties to a staff of nine.
“I guess I do everything,” she said. “I’m kind of a jack of all trades.”
Moore, who is single, has lived in Chocowinity all her life and has six living siblings.
Moore began at the library as a volunteer, but eventually became a part-time and then full-time employee. In the interim, she received her master’s degree.
She enjoys her current position, she said, and especially relishes its challenges.
“I love that the job has variety, and I like challenges because this is fairly new to me,” she said. “I had some things to learn, and I always thought of myself as more of a follower than a leader, so it has been a challenge.”
The Daily News caught up with Moore recently and asked about Brown Library and the future of libraries in general.
1.) How has the library changed since you began working there, and what challenges do you see for the future?
“When I first began, the library was under a governing board and there were no computers and one typewriter for public use. Today the library has at least 20 computers total.
“Today the library also has videos, spoken-word CDs, music CDs and DVDs for education and entertainment.
“The challenge for the future of Brown Library is mainly the funding to keep the doors open, keeping convenient hours and having enough computers and online services.
“We also need to make available reading hours, homework help and study space for children and teens, offer access to catalogs and databases though the Internet and develop better programing for teens, offering ready access to information about government services.”
2.) How has the increase in technology and variety of ways to communicate since the Internet blossomed affected the value of libraries and what they have to offer?
“The value of the library has really gotten stronger because we are able to provide Internet access and wireless Internet to the public. Library patrons can access a statewide database of newspapers, journals, magazines and encyclopedias and online audio books.”
3.) What value do books play in our computer-age society? Do you foresee a time when books will no longer be published?
“I don’t think books will ever stop being published, because they have scientific or literary value and connect us with emotions and passions that can leave us in utter amazement. “Books offer us the freedom to meditate, dream, and they can take us anywhere we want to go.
“Libraries will begin to disappear only when all literature becomes digitized and all the users are completely literate. If a time like that actually happens it will be far, far into the future, but and I don’t the book will every lose its value.
“And you can’t curl up in bed with a computer.”
4.) What can libraries do to attract younger patrons who grew up with computers and other means of communication?
“What is really attracting a lot of the kids to the library are the graphic novels. Graphic novels look like comic books, but you can get them in classics and regular fiction books.
“We have quite a few of them in the library, and the kids really take to them. Kids also tend to love series such a Nancy Drew, and once you get a child connected to a series they read one and they want to read the next one.
“Kids also like humor and are always interested in joke books, so we have a lot of those. Once you can get them into the (library) doors, maybe they’ll pick up something else along the way.”
5.) What aspects of the library are most utilized these days? Do you see a good cross-section of patrons? How many total patrons does the library have?
“Believe it or not, books are still number one. We have more adult-fiction books checked out of the library than any other type of material.
“In May alone, we circulated 3,448 fiction books. In adult fiction alone since July 1, 39,169 total adult fiction books have been circulated.
“Juvenile fiction comes in second to adult fiction, and third are the people who come in to use the Internet.
“Since July 1, 16,232 juvenile books have been circulated; and in that time, more than 12,530 people came in to use the Internet.
“Total library patrons is 12,177, of which 9,242 are adults and 2,935 are juveniles.”
6.) What future do you see for the Brown Library, and how will it remain relevant?
“There will always be a need to for people to find information and for someone to aid them in doing that.
“I see Brown Library coming more into the electronic age, and I see more e-books, more computers being added, and online services for people should be a high priority for local libraries. “The library will continue to be an information center in the digital age, and I still see the public library existing as a valuable resource for those people who have the fewest personal resources available to them.
“I don’t think we need to write an obituary for the book, yet, because there’s just something about the book that people love to have in hand, and I don’t think that will ever die. “And there’s something about the library and coming into a safe environment to browse that I don’t think will ever die.”