In many small towns, there are notable buildings and institutions that stand out because of their architectural splendor or nostalgic importance, but in every community, the true beating heart is their public library. The Fulton County Public Library was founded in Rochester in 1904, and has served as a vital resource and gateway to knowledge for its patrons ever since. As the town grew and the needs of its constituents evolved, the library and its services have expanded and upgraded to meet those needs. The old notion of a library as a mere repository of books and other reference materials seems quaint when you realize the scope of what they actually provide. The library is a safe haven that allows users to explore their imaginations through reading or storytelling; it is a gathering place for community convergence, for education, entertainment, and fellowship. To some, it is a portal to a better life via job hunting resources or access to research materials that could expand their professional and personal knowledge. And with its lending and electronic resources, its magic extends beyond the physical building, into our homes and beyond. The overseeing of our own sanctuary of knowledge and community falls into the capable hands of Fulton County Library Director, Andrea Stineback. A native of Leiters Ford, Stineback was named Director in 2017, enabling her to put her nearly 13 years of job experience and her Master of Library Science Degree to good use. She oversees all three FCPL Branches, and utilizes her knowledge of the community’s needs to fuel her passion to drive the library in a positive direction. Under her tutelage, the library has a number of productive changes and overall progress, with one of her latest initiatives being the elimination of overdue fines.
Photos below taken by Tim Roe
“A twenty-five cent fine is not going to make people bring things back; if anything, it keeps them away,” she says, explaining the motivation for the change. “Many people are embarrassed when they have overdue fines, so they just don’t come back to the library- and sometimes, neither do the overdue materials. People who can’t afford to pay the fines are usually the people who need the library most.” ‘Fine Free’, which launched on April 1, 2020, will see previous overdue fines wiped from patron’s cards, but does not mean that people will be allowed to keep items indefinitely, as ‘lost materials’ fees will remain in effect. “After 28 days, overdue items will be considered lost and charges will appear on people’s cards, so there is still accountability,” Stineback explained. Another exciting development to look forward to is the purchase of Virtual Reality systems for each of the Fulton County Branches. Virtual Reality @ Your Library is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and is made possible by a Library Services and Technology Act grant administered by the Indiana State Library. “We are open to trying new things,” Stineback said, putting the emphasis on the importance of the ‘public’ in public libraries: “If the community has ideas, let us know. The library belongs to the public, so if there is something you want the library to do, or you have book or movie requests, please tell us. We are here to serve you.”
People can check the website calendar for all of our events: fulco.lib.in.us or their Facebook page: facebook.com/FCPubLib We are hosting an American Red Cross blood drive on Tuesday, June 30th. Rochester Library Hours: Monday-Thursday 10:00 AM-8:00 PM Friday 10:00 AM-6:00 PM Saturday 10:00 AM-5:00 PM