The 5 Q’s: Jeana Gockley shares what’s available at Joplin library | Local News

In this weekly feature, we put five questions before someone in the community. Today, we chat with the Joplin Public Library’s Jeana Gockley.

1. The library always seems to be coming up with something new and fun. What is the latest offering?

The STEM Kits, also known as Curiosity Kits, began as a way to provide access to some of the children’s department’s STEM tools during programming breaks. Thanks to a generous donation from the Lemons Charitable Trust, we are able to offer seven kits featuring STEM tools, books and activities for elementary-aged children. Library cardholders ages 7-12 and their families can discover electronics and circuit building with Snap Circuits, coding and robots with Ozobots, and electronics and inventions with Makey Makeys.

Curiosity Kits can be checked out for three weeks. Only one kit per card is permitted. We made an effort to include everything a family or group might need to successfully explore these kits, though the Makey Makey kit does require both an internet connection and a computer or tablet.

2. What other programs and services does the library offer for children and teenagers?

The children’s department offers programs and services for children ages 0-12 and their families/caregivers. We offer four storytimes per week for families with children ages 0-5. The children’s department also includes a play space with developmentally appropriate toys. Also, we offer the following monthly programs: LEGO Build-a-thon for ages 2-12, Dog Day Afternoon with therapy dogs for independent readers ages 6-11, Young Artists Club for ages 8-12, and Saturday STEM Club for ages 5-12.

The teen department provides programs and services for youth in grades 6-12 and their adults. It houses space for relaxing, working and self-expression, including a study room just for teens that has a large dry-erase wall. Year-round, teens can display drawings (and other two-dimensional art) in the space through our “Special Guest Artist” project. We offer a summer volunteer program which simulates a first-job experience for teens ages 14-18. Teens can book an appointment with the teen services librarian to learn about the library’s electronic and print resources. We also offer a variety of programs such as take-home activity kits, Anime Club, Game Night and a teen advisory group.

3. What programs and services does the library offer for adults?

In addition to our print and digital offerings, the library provides a wide array of services for adults. The library’s facilities provide meeting rooms and study rooms for the community — no library card is needed to make use of these spaces.

Additionally, the library provides community members with access to the internet. This access is made available via free Wi-Fi or the use of the library’s computer lab.

Another resource the library offers to the community is its makerspace. This space provides community members with access to a 3D printer, laser cutter, digital media converter tools, an array of computer software, audio/visual equipment and more. The makerspace is used on a first-come, first-served basis, with the exception of laser cutter usage, which is by appointment only. Visit for a listing of open hours. Use of the makerspace is free, but users are required to bring their own materials or pay for consumable materials used on their projects.

In addition to these services, the library provides adult programs to all community members. The programs offered vary in nature. Adult programs are designed to meet the educational, professional and recreational needs of community members. Offsite book swaps, bingo nights and educational talks from community experts are just a few of the programming resources available to the library. All adult programs are designed for participants aged 18 years and older.

4. It’s clear that the library has worked hard the past few years to become more connected with the community. Why is that important?

It is wonderful to know that others have noticed our efforts to be more connected. This is a key part of the library’s vision and mission. As an organization, we strive to be a welcoming place where learning and connection grow and lives are enriched. In our daily work, we focus on opening tomorrow’s doors through diverse opportunities to learn, create, explore and have fun.

All of this is for the community. We want the library to be a community hub, a connecting point where users feel like part of a larger community and have access to the tools they need to better their lives. Be it through participating in programs, utilizing library resources, getting help from skilled staff or connecting with others, the ultimate goal is to help our users.

To achieve better connections, we prioritize the goals of service, awareness, outreach, inclusion and enrichment. As an example, outreach is a key component, and staff realize that going outside the walls of the library is necessary to connect with more users. During the last year, we participated in many community events: Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business Expo, Joplin NALA Read’s Literacy Liftoff, Joplin Schools’ Health & Benefits Fair, East Town Dreams District’s Joplin Regional Black Expo, JOMO Pride Fest and Emancipation Park Days . We hope to continue our outreach efforts this year.

5. What is the process to get a library card?

Interested individuals can apply at the library, 1901 E. 20th St., or start the process online at

In addition to filling out a short form, future library cardholders need to provide a valid photo ID and proof of address (a computer-generated piece of mail less than 30 days old). If applicants live inside the Joplin city limits, there is no additional fee for a library card, since it has been paid for as part of their annual property tax payment. If individuals live outside the Joplin city limits, the library has multiple types of nonresident cards that are incredibly affordable, starting at a three-month card for $12.50.

Jeana Gockley is the director of the Joplin Public Library.


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