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Olney Community Library

Introduction

Olney is a rural community in Young County located in north central Texas. It is one hundred miles west of Fort Worth, forty miles south of Wichita Falls, two hundred miles east of Lubbock and ninety miles northeast of Abilene. The town’s rural location provides easy access to larger markets, while allowing a relaxed and affordable lifestyle to its citizens.

There is some controversy about how Olney got its name. In order to be established as an official town with a post office, the settlement had to be given a name. Several suggestions were made then rejected. Some historians say it was named after Richard Olney, a northern politician that one of the men respected. Others claim that it was named after Olney, Illinois, where another popular politician was stumping. And of course Olney, England is another possibility.

Historical, Current, and Future Roles of the Library

Historically the library has been a place for: lifelong learning; formal education support; a community meeting place; educational and recreational materials; a local history and genealogy/heritage center; cultural awareness, and current topics and titles. In addition to the historical roles listed previously, the library is currently the place for: early childhood literacy; free and equal access to information; public computer access; information literacy, and information assistance. In the future, the library would like to also provide: a technology center; career and workforce development assistance, and English as a Second Language programs or classes. The library would like to provide: an extended local history division and repository for community related materials; outside seating for teens who wish to access the school network Wi-Fi after library hours, and a kiosk for photo prints from digital cameras and phones.

Existing Programs

The library has a number of on-going programs. Each week during the school year, pre-K through 5th grade classes visit the library. There are weekly public pre-school story time programs. The library also provides the following children’s programs: Reading Is FUNdamental (programs and free books three times each school year); Summer Reading Club; Pumpkin Decorating Contest in October, and Santa’s Visit in December. The library hosts two annual art exhibits, and on occasion has special art exhibits of private collections or by student artists.

Identified Needs

Community needs include: a more diversity tax base and job opportunities. Challenges include: an aging population, shrinking tax base, high percentage of ESL families, large number of low-income housing recipients and high unemployment.

Library concerns include: core leaders of the community are aging and their dwindling input presents is a significant concern for the library. The shrinking tax base and change in priorities due to the influx of new residents impacts the library’s ability to accomplish its original objectives, ones that helped set the Olney library apart from others. The Olney library is changing from a depository of books into a provider of information based on electronic technology. It is a challenge to provide services in new ways without losing the interest in and preservation of local history.

Identified Assets

Assets in Olney include: hospital and health clinic; pharmacy; Senior Cub Center; independent school district with the library and the elementary, middle, junior high, and high school all on one campus; daycare centers and Head Start; farm and ranch land; community center; gazebo downtown; baseball complex; 2 public parks; Chamber of Commerce; golf course; Volunteer Fire Department; Police Station; City Hall; WWII Memorial in the library; 2 nursing homes; low income housing; a number of churches; various civic organizations such as Lion’s Club, and a number of women’s clubs; Olney Industrial Development Cooperation, and a local newspaper. The largest employers are: the school district; hospital; Tower Extrusions, a company that provides extracted aluminum products, and Air Tractor, a company that designs and builds specialized planes such as crop dusters.

The Olney Community Library & Arts Center would like to thank the Library Board, the City of Olney and the Olney Independent School District for their continued support of the library. The library would also like to thank the Tocker Foundation for financial support it has provided to establish the library’s Texas Collection room. We would like to thank the Robert and Ruby Priddy Charitable Trust for funding the UNT PEARL project and the library’ participation in PEARL. The library would like to extend its sincere thanks and appreciation to the many citizens of Olney who have contributed memorials and donations to the library to support the development of the collection, services, and programs of the library.

Location

Olney Community Library
807 W. Hamilton St. P.O. Box 67 Olney, TX 76374
United States
33° 22' 9.8148" N, 98° 45' 45.6408" W
AttachmentSize
olney_outreach_plan.pdf191.99 KB
Keywords: 
Weekly public pre-school story time programs, Summer Reading Club

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