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Reader's Corner: Kimberling Area Library celebrates a successful year

The Kimberling Area Library held its annual meeting on May 9, 2024, at the Library. Approximately 50 KAL Association members joined together for a luncheon to celebrate the year’s successes, along with opportunities for the coming year.


Led by a nine-member board of directors and staffed totally by volunteers, KAL is a privately-owned, nonprofit organization, solely funded by grants, donations and optional memberships.

The past year has been a busy one to meet the Library mission of “improving the quality of life in the area by providing access to books, other media, information services and special programs for the education and recreation of residents and visitors of all ages and interests.” The Library recently adopted the mantra, “Knowledge Is Strength,” now displayed on the front of the building.


Board of Directors President Yvette Ayres opened the meeting by paying homage to Betty “Big Dog” Davis, who passed away in June 2023. Davis set a leadership example in multiple ways to leave a legacy of volunteerism, fortitude and vision that continues at KAL today.


Library volunteers are happy to help persons living within 25 miles of Kimberling City to obtain their FREE Library card. Current active Library members number over 8,000; and item checkouts over the last year totaled over 36,000. The Library collection includes CDs, DVDs, large print and regular print fiction and nonfiction books, both hardback and paperback, e-books, and a special Ozarks collection that is very popular with community patrons.


Ayres also shared the past month’s accomplishments toward the Library mission, including the following:

·       Offering 11 free monthly Learning on Wednesday sessions, informal sessions for community engagement and learning led by local speakers on diverse topics;

·       Hosting seven Master Gardener educational sessions, as part of the University of Missouri-Extension, free to area gardeners on a variety of topics;

·       Improving KAL infrastructure: HVAC, security and access to the Children’s and Sound Gardens behind the Library building;

·       Coordinating local fundraisers, including the October book sale; Amazon rare book sales; and coordinating grant submissions to support Library operations; funded projects included purchase of 48 WonderBooks (print book with a ready-to-play audio book inside) and the annual cost of the Apollo library software to manage the library system, plus much more to meet the KAL mission;

·       Planning for major upgrades to KAL software and hardware to better serve patrons;

·       Planning a 2024 summer “Adventure Reading Hour” program for young children, to be held weekly, June 10 through July 15;  

·       Honoring volunteers for service milestones of five, ten, fifteen, etc. years.

Two volunteers were honored by the board of directors for their significant contributions to the organization over the past year: Judy Anderson, substitute supervisor and production manager of the “Bookmark” newsletter, and Carolyn Twenty, Thursday morning supervisor and Operations Committee secretary, received appreciation plaques for their service.


Before concluding the meeting, Ayres acknowledged 26-plus major KAL supporters who have contributed deeply toward ensuring accessible, diverse books fitting for patron learning needs to meet the KAL mission and focus on “Reading: A Habit Worth Keeping.”


Anyone new to Kimberling City/Branson West/Stone County who hasn’t checked out this awesome community Library is encouraged to stop by at 45 Kimberling Blvd. and get acquainted!

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