May 27, 2022

Report: “Missouri Town of Just 304 Residents Supports a Public Library”

From The Missourian:

The one-room Martinsburg Branch Library sits in the shadow of the town’s grain elevators, just down the street from Teddy Joe’s Bar and Grill. Even though the town has just 304 residents, the library manages to stay open five days a week.

It was founded in 1990 as a branch of the Mexico-Audrain County Library District. Over time, the Martinsburg location has grown to have 502 registered patrons and 13,907 books, periodicals and audio-visual materials.

Branch manager Joyce Gastler is the only employee. She orders the books, checks them out, manages the finances, tidies up at the end of the day.


Young adults in Martinsburg occasionally use their Nooks or Kindles to read digitally, but many will still check out paperbacks from the library.

“It’s exciting when a kid comes in to ask if I have a book,” she said. “If I don’t have it, I will get it. It’s neat to see the kids come in and see them sharing (what they’ve read) with each other.”


Gastler keeps a spreadsheet for frequent customers of books they’ve read and ones they might like. She also keeps patrons in the loop for new material from favorite authors.

“I have a lady who likes David Baldacci, and I always make it a point to call her and say, ‘The book’s here, and if you want it, I’ll hold it for you,’” she said. “She’s always so excited.”

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Learn More: Visit the Mexico-Audrian County District Library Web Site

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.