Have you been to the Foley Library lately? If not, you will be surprised to see how much more the library has to offer than just books.
Kate Norris, the new Library Director, recently gained this title in November 2023, says, “When you come through those doors, you will find a “happy place.” Norris has been with the City of Foley since 2007. She completed her 16th year this past October with nine years at City Hall in Human Resources and seven years at the Foley Library. Norris says, “The library has so much to offer to our community.”
"We have almost 86,000 items for check-out, of which 77,000 of those items are book titles,” Norris said. Other than the wide range of book titles available, there are books on CDs, DVDs, magazines, and other digital resources for all ages. “We have Hoopla, which allows patrons to access audiobooks, eBooks, comics, and movies. And we have Libby, which also allows access to audio and eBooks.”
Norris shared the opportunities available. To begin with, the library offers printing, scanning and faxing services, and has a notary public service. She said the library has a computer lab with 28 computers for public use, with one-on-one assistance to teach patrons about general computer use and assistance with Microsoft Office and Google Suites. Anything technical, their staff support will be glad to help with. Mae Bryant is Head of Collection Management and oversees the Computer Lab.
Michele Collins, the Library Cataloger, shared a few statistics for December 2022-November 2023 and found the average daily circulation was 1,168. Collins said, “We gain an average of 3.7 library patrons a day and an average of 2.6 library computer lab users a day.”
Foley Library came into existence in May of 1923. A Community Welfare Club (which later became the Foley Women's Club) started a community library. In 1957, the City of Foley took over the library, which has recently celebrated its 100th year in the community.
If you want to learn a language, go to the Foley Library. They offer the Mango Languages, preparing the student for realistic conversations in over 70 languages.
If you need a meeting room, the library has meeting rooms for reservations for groups of up to 40 people, a boardroom for up to 8 people, and a study room for 1-3 people.
The Children’s Department is brimming with all kinds of activities and programs. Maggie Pearson is the Children’s Department Director. She oversees and plans the activities for the children, including arts and crafts, special events, and characters that visit during the Children's Storytime. Recently, during the Christmas holidays, she arranged for Santa himself to make a surprise visit to the children’s Storytime.
The library has many programs and even arts and crafts for teens and adults. Teen activities include the Teen Create Spaces and the Teen Book Club. There is a Coffee & Donuts with Authors event and homeschool kit programs for adults. Also, recently, the library purchased Stay Sharp Kits, which are cognitive care kits assisting patrons with dementia. These kits contain puzzles, games, and other activities to stimulate the mind.
The History & Genealogy Department on the second floor has cultural and heritage collections for genealogy research. They have a collection of materials on the state of Alabama, county and city histories, and family histories in books, files, and films.
The library is a great asset to the community. It needs more space to adequately provide this wealth of information and services. There are future plans for a new library to begin construction this year. Norris says, “We have a lot of changes coming and our plan is to only get better!”
To learn more about the library, Visit their website, foleylibrary.org, or stop at 319 E. Laurel Avenue. Hours: Monday-Thursday 9-7, Friday & Saturday 9-5, Sunday closed, you may also call 251-943-1032.