Today’s library is not just for checking out books. Whether it’s for enjoying others’ company during a brown-bag chat, searching the Internet for jobs in the community, or simply browsing the stacks, everyone goes to the library. Open from early morning to late evening, the library offers a free, safe, and comfortable space. It serves as a respite from daily routine, promoting lifelong learning with programs like Family Storytime and Teen Game Club. Above all, the library creates a casual atmosphere that patrons use as they see fit.

“It’s hard to characterize our patrons. They really cross all of the social categories and divisions: young, old, in between, rich, poor. You never know who’s going to walk through the door.” John Chidester, director, Mount Vernon Public Library

“As educators, the library is very library is very important for my husband and me. Our kids see the nature of the library; even from very young we took them there. Now, at fourteen and eighteen, they see the library as a wonderful haven.” Loretta Rearick, Kenyon College piano instructor

“The library is a quiet place to sit and think clearly, but occasionally, a friend and I will meet here and ‘study’ something together in one of the louder areas.” Vanessa Gertel, Knox County Career Center student

Long-time patrons maintain fond memories of the original library building, which was replaced in 1952. Courtesy Knox County Historical Society 
In 1990 patrons and employees decorated the library’s Bookmobile for the Christmas Walk and Parade in Mount Vernon. Courtesy Mount Vernon Public Library 

People of all ages played with science experiments at a brown-bag chat hosted by the Science Play-Space Initiative, a local nonprofit that offers informal science education.
Although traditionally a quiet space for studying, the library is often just the opposite. Courtesy Mount Vernon Public Library 
Sumer reading programs provide a great educational resource for children in the community. Courtesy Mount Vernon Public Library 
Catching up with librarians is sometimes more important than catching up with reading. Courtesy Mount Vernon Public Library