What do you think about when someone says the word “library”? I think it is fair to say that most people would answer by saying: “books,” “reading,” “library cards,” “computers,” “movies,” or something of the sort. If you ask James Ritchie at the Johnson County Library, he describes their purpose as, “improving the quality of life for people and helping them with their informational needs.”
Outside of housing hundreds of books and movies in their building, the library also has several computers that patrons are allowed to use, the staff is always there to help whether it is looking for a job or learning how to use the computer, and the list goes on. The library also regularly hosts a variety of events at the library that cater to all ages from author book talks to a storytime set up just for kids.
I got the chance to sit down with James Ritchie and he shared more about how the library is growing and developing. James’ time at the library started in 2017 as a part-time circulation clerk. That position later projected him into becoming the assistant branch manager, then the programming librarian, and now his current position as the head librarian.
Throughout our conversation, James brought up the connection that had been made between the Johnson County Public Library and Scarlett Marketing, which allowed their goals and vision for the library to come to fruition.
One goal that James mentioned for the branches of libraries in the surrounding areas is for each location to have an outreach vehicle that can be brought to events to bring more awareness about the library to the community, and the vehicles would be used for the book route that brings books, movies, or any material that one branch has to another that does not have it and needs it. As a step in the right direction, Scott at Scarlett Marketing helped the Arkansas River Valley Regional Library System do a logo wrap on two outreach vehicles for them.
Additionally, the Johnson County Public Library has started an event that is called a Story Walk (created and trademarked by Anne Ferguson).
According to James, “You can turn any picture book into a Story Walk. As long as you just snap the pages and you don’t turn the page, you’ll have your book!”
Scarlett Marketing also helped the library by creating the signage that was needed to place along the nature trail for their Story Walks.
These particular signs, “...allow us to be versatile. We can take them pretty much anywhere,” James said.
Working with Scarlett Marketing has been the library’s first community outreach but they are not stopping there. The Johnson County Public Library wants the community to know that they are there and know that they are willing to be involved in the community in order to help the community.
I was also given the opportunity to sit down with the owner of Scarlett Marketing, Harley Mork, to talk about their work with the Johnson County Public Library.
Harley described Scarlett Marketing simply in that, “We are first and foremost a business development company. We do so much as a business and I always want customers to remember what we are all about.”
Scarlett Marketing provides services to businesses that are wanting to be more cost-effective or efficient, that are needing help with the marketing side of things and managing any search engine browsers, that are needing help with video production or editing, and the list goes on.
According to Harley, “Scarlett Marketing is the one-stop shop for businesses.”
One of the ever-growing parts of Scarlett Marketing, though, is their signs and wraps–which ties them back to their help with the Johnson County Public Library.
When asked why it is so important for businesses like Scarlett Marketing to support non-profit organizations like the Johnson County Public Library, James said, “We don’t want to stand alone. We want to build those bridges and have partnerships. Even reaching out to Scarlett Marketing to do simple Story Walk signs allows us to utilize our local resources in the community.”
The connection that was made between the Johnson County Public Library and Scarlett Marketing has opened them both up for even more community outreach.
For those interested in becoming more involved in the Johnson County Public Library and its different events, you can stop by, talk to their friendly staff, and sign up for a library card while you are at it. All you will need to do to receive a library card is to bring a piece of mail with your name on it to prove that you are a Johnson County resident and you will receive your card for free! Just like that, you will have access to free wifi, hundreds of physical copies of books from picture books, to teen fiction, to non-fiction books, and more, an app that grants you access to their ebooks and audiobooks, and so on. You can go check them out today!
The Johnson County Public Library also has several upcoming events and programs that are a must to add to your calendar! In the upcoming school year, the library will be kicking off its new program, “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten.” For this particular program, the information and packets that help families keep track of the books they read can be picked up at the library. Be sure to keep track of every book read with your kiddo because everyone that reads 1,000 books will receive a certificate and a prize.
On October 15th the Johnson County Public Library will also have a booth inside of the Marvin Vinson Activity Center for Kids Fest. Their booth will be centered around educating kids about fire safety and the library. This event will begin at 10 AM with an Emergency Vehicle parade, then the activities and booths will be opened up inside. It will be all free for the families, including a chip and hot dog lunch.
Continuing their author series, the Johnson County Library has scheduled Jennifer Cadgwith on August 22, 2022, at 4:30 PM, Ginny Sain on October 14th at 4:00 PM, and Bill Eakin on November 7th at 4:30 PM. The library will also continue hosting Story Time on Thursdays at 10:00 AM. If all of those fun events were not enough, the library is also planning to have more Story Walks in Lamar, Coal Hill, Oark, and other locations, so be sure to be on the lookout for those dates and times as well.
If you or anyone you know is searching for the Johnson County Public Library you can find all of their contact information, hours of operation, and address on their website, https://www.library.arkansas.gov/facilities/johnson-county-public-library/. To contact Harley or his team at Scarlett Marketing, you can find all of their information on their website as well, https://scarlettus.com/.