Jeana Gockley was welcomed Feb. 8 as the new McDonald County Librarian. For 11 years, Gockley was the children's librarian at Joplin Public Library.
Gockley comes well-prepared to lead the McDonald County Library system, which is made up of three branches:
• Pineville branch (built in 1984)
• Noel (opened in 1998)
• Anne Croxdale Memorial Library in Southwest City (opened in 2011).
Gockley has a master's degree in library science from the University of Missouri and a bachelor's degree in marketing from Missouri Southern State University.
"It was difficult leaving the Joplin Public Library," Gockley said. "I was attached to the community and the library staff there. I look forward to getting to know the community here and learning what they want the library to do for them."
Gockley said the librarian position in McDonald County includes being director of the library as well as being the human resources person, managing financial matters and initiating programs.
"My number one initial objective here is to get the 2016 budget together," she said. Gockley said there was a huge cut in state aid for 2016 -- going from $30,000 to $1,500. Though the library is mainly funded from property taxes, Gockley said the state aid is needed. Gockley said the lack of funding is really hurting McDonald County's libraries.
Gockley will be working with branch managers at Noel and Southwest City on various programs including the summer reading program. "My goal," Gockley said, "is to keep the children and families reading during the summer."
"Every Thursday, we have Story Time for children to age 5 at the Pineville Library at 10 a.m. and at the Southwest City Library at 12.30 p.m.," Gockley said, "and Noel Head Start is also one of the outreach programs we will be working on."
"We received a summer library program grant in the amount of $11,862 which includes all three libraries," Gockley said.
Some of Gockley's long-term goals include focus on children obtaining literacy skills, making the library a community hub, get the library system into a better financial position, and develop a strong relationship with the schools and the community.Community on 03/03/2016