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Morris library's Book Sale kicks off 26th annual Prairie Pioneer Days

Dozens of people turned out for the annual Morris Public Library Book Sale, which is the kickoff to the city's annual Prairie Pioneer Days celebration.

The 26th annual Prairie Pioneer Days officially kicked off Friday with the Morris Public Library Book Sale.

As usual, hundreds of hardcover and paperback books were available at bargain prices in the library's community room.

Soon, Friends of the Morris Library intend to have new audio-visual equipment installed in the room, and the group has started a fundraising campaign to make it happen.

The Friends hope to raise $6,000 to pay for the technology upgrades at a time when tight city budgets mean public libraries also are taking a financial hit, said Laverne Swanson, of the Friends group.

"Research has shown that in tough economic times, library use goes up," Swanson said. "There's very little (local government) money to go around, so if the Friends don't do it, it can't happen."

The community room upgrades include a video and computer image projector, a camera, new wiring, a laptop computer and other equipment that will make it possible for PowerPoint and other presentations, Swanson said.

"We're trying to update the technology," Swanson said. "It's where society is going."

Future Friends project include raising money to install two computer stations designated for email use only. The library's six current computer stations also receive heavy use and need replacing, she said.

The need and desire to use the library is there, Swanson said, noting that about 200 people, mostly kids, packed into the building on Thursday to watch a magician perform.

"It was a great turnout and shows the need out there," Swanson said. "The Friends want to help in areas where the library can't come up with the funds itself."