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January 5, 2007

Dial-a-story feature added at the public library

A service allowing Cullman County children to access their favorite books by telephone was recently installed at the Cullman Public Library, said John Paul Myrick, county librarian.

The service was added using a donation from the Wal-Mart Foundation and with funding from Cullman County’s legislative delegation through the Alabama Public Library Service. Myrick said the service, called Dial-A-Story, provides an opportunity to listen to children’s books, but is something the whole family can enjoy.

“Particularly parents who want to spend time with their children,” he said. “It’s also great as a way to get children to read and help schools meet the goals of the Alabama Reading Initiative.”

Myrick said the library has never offered the Dial-A-Story service before. The library received a donation from Wal-Mart for the program in early December. Myrick said Thursday the service had been functioning for about three days, and had received five or six calls.

He said he is hopeful the number of calls will increase, as more people find out about the service.

“This is a service we have wanted to provide for area children for some time, and the costs have greatly come down over the years,” Myrick said in a press release. “Wal-Mart called and offered a donation from the Wal-Mart foundation towards literacy, and extra state funding was available this year thanks to the work of Senator [Zeb] Little and Representatives [Neal] Morrison, [Jeremy] Oden and [Ronald] Grantland. Everything just fell into place, so this seemed to be the right time to move forward with this valuable service.”

Children can dial 736-9961 to hear a recorded story at any time of the day, every day, Myrick said.

“Public libraries are continuing to be at the very hub of providing services to their patrons 24-7,” said Rebecca Mitchell, the State librarian and director of the Alabama Public Library Service in a press release. “Even our youngest patrons have access to favorite stories long before they learn to read due to these combined efforts, making Cullman County and Alabama a wonderful place to live and raise a family.”

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