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Hebron library finds a new home

HEBRON -- A library patron asked for assistance to find a book, students played educational games on the computers and a summer school student practiced reading with her tutor. It was a typical day at the Hebron Public Library, which recently moved to larger facilities in the vacant medical building on Main Street.

The library, which is owned and operated by the city of Hebron, was housed in a 1,200-square-foot corner the Hebron Historical and Art Society's museum when librarian Jean Pascual requested more space.

Her husband, Larry, took apart the cabinets from the former emergency room to create book shelves, while volunteers transported the books.

Pascual counts seven rooms intended for children, non-fiction, paperbacks, fiction, audio-visual, computers and conferences.

She considers the smaller rooms as an advantage for the patrons.

"I have people come and sit in the rooms and they don't feel like they have to leave," Pascual said. "They can go through the books and don't have to hear the kids running around."

Before she moved, Pascual weeded through the collection of 14,000 books to eliminate those that were outdated.

The city provides the budget that covers the librarian's salary. The books are either donated or purchased through grants.

With the move she said, "Lots of people are donating like crazy. However, it's rare to get any donated books for the children's section."

Duplicated or outdated books are sold at 50 cents per pound during two book sales. The next one is during the Hebron Fall Festival, Sept. 8 and Sept. 9.

Pascual accepted the librarian position in September. One of the first priorities was to upgrade the computer software with the help of a volunteer.

"What happened was the software was so old the kids were not using them -- they couldn't do much searching," she said.

Pascual uses the Dewey Decimal Classification that allows library patrons to find a book on the shelves, but she has been indexing the books into the computer.

"It's an ongoing battle to get into the 21st century," she said.

She also is connected to the Interlibrary Loan System to fill requests.

Pascual invited the Morton-Mandan Public Library's bookmobile to visit the library once a month.

"If you can't read, you can't be educated," she said.

The Pascuals became familiar with Hebron when they used to help her father, who was a bee keeper. He kept bees around the Turtle Mountains and Morton County and wintered them in California.

"We were supposed to be here six months and it ended up being 12 years," she said.

The couple purchased a home in Hebron in 2004. They have eight children and 17 grandchildren.

Pascual shares her love of reading with her grandchildren.

"I have no library degree, but I've always been a lover of the library," she said. "The State Library has been very helpful in instructing me."

The library's service area includes Glen Ullin and Richardton.

"When I first started, we were getting as few as 100 patrons a month," she said. "Last month, we served over 450."

Library patron Irene Roth of Hebron checks out books every two weeks.

"It's really great -- they did a wonderful job," Roth said. "We are fortunate to have a library like this for Hebron. It's on the Main Street with nice parking -- it's convenient."

A former Hebron city librarian, Violet Sease serves as president of the Library Board.

Her wish-list includes a computer table and a budget for books.

"We do fundraisers and look for grants," she said. "The board of directors oversees the library and if we want anything new, we need City Council approval. We moved because we needed more space and the building was available for us and a lot cheaper."

She remembers when the library was in a corner in the former City Hall basement. It was operated by the Mrs. Jaycees until the city took it over.

Sease helps out at the library when Pascual leads a children's story time or is busy with the summer reading program.

Sease likes the location and appreciates Pascual's dedication to the job.

"I think it's handier down town with more parking space and the bookmobile also brings people in," Sease said.

The library is open Mondays and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

It's at 811 Main Ave. For more information, call 701-878-4110.