About 30 people attended the Llano County Library Advisory Board’s meeting Monday, Jan. 24, when members discussed topics such as subcommittee formation and the county’s subscription to OverDrive, which provides online access to eBooks and other materials. Staff photo by Brigid Cooley
Members of the new Llano County Library Advisory Board met Monday, Jan. 24, to discuss library business, including the county’s online reading services. About 30 residents attended the meeting in the Kingsland Branch Library, which was the board’s first public meeting since the Llano County Commissioners Court reorganized the board earlier in January.
Although no action was taken during the two-hour meeting, members listened to public comments and discussed topics such as what subcommittees to form and whether to reinstate OverDrive, the county’s online reading service, as well as possible alternatives.
OverDrive is an online portal that provides library patrons across the state access to eBooks, magazines, and other content. The county’s subscription was suspended by the Commissioners Court in December of last year when a review of children’s and teens content was conducted.
The Llano County Library System includes three facilities: the Llano County Library, the Kingsland Branch Library, and the Lakeshore Branch Library. In December, the Commissioners Court directed library staff to close the facilities for three days for a complete review of books for children and teens to ensure the materials were placed in age-appropriate sections.
The online service, which costs the county $3,000 annually for use, does not provide a number of content filters, which has caused concern about types of books that children and teens can access while using it.
During the public comments section of the meeting, resident Rose White expressed the importance of providing the resource to adults, noting that many adult patrons, including the elderly and those with mobility issues, often use it as an alternative to having to come into the library each time they’d like to check out a book.
“(OverDrive access) means a lot to me,” White said. “It’s something I can do at home because it’s difficult for me to get out.”
County commissioners had the option to reinstate or unsubscribe from the online service during their regular meeting Monday, held just a few hours before the board’s meeting, but chose to table the item until the board could provide a recommendation.
One possible option is to restrict OverDrive access from library card holders under the age of 18, Llano County Library System Director Amber Milum explained to the board. This can be done through the backend of the library’s online system.
“The children will still be allowed to use their cards to check out materials, but even if they try to access it through the app or our system, they will not be allowed to get onto OverDrive,” Milum said.
Board members chose to table the discussion and action until the next meeting, which is scheduled from 3-5 p.m. Feb. 10 at the Llano County Library, 102 E. Haynie St. in Llano. Until then, members will continue to research options.