Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Leaving the Library in Capable Hands

I am pleased to announce that the Plainfield Library’s Board of Trustees decided in June to name Assistant Library Director Lisa Pappas to the position of Interim Library Director for one year. This decision will provide consistent leadership for the Library through planning for a possible April 2017 referendum.

Lisa Pappas joined the Plainfield Library staff in October 2002 as the Head of Adult Services. One of her first projects was to overhaul the Library’s collection, which had not been weeded in more than a decade. She stepped into the newly-created Assistant Library Director position in 2007. As Assistant Director, her primary job was overseeing day-to-day operations of the Library. Second in command, she acted as the administrator in the absence of the Library Director, providing her with experience in the role. A native of Naperville, Lisa understands the continued impact of the explosive growth of the 2000s on the area and the Library. Lisa has also worked in public libraries in Aurora, West Chicago, Warrenville, and Oak Brook.

Lisa Pappas’ first day as Interim Library Director is July 15. My final day as Library Director is July 14. I feel confident leaving the Library in Lisa’s capable hands.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Make the Most of Your Investment in the Library

Who doesn't like a big return on an investment? Your investment of tax dollars in the library always nets a great return but Money Smart Week offers more than ever. From online classes with Morningstar Investments to a free Shred Day event, the Library can help you maximize that return with Money Smart Week - and all of the other resources and services your Library offers!

In addition to Money Smart Week events this week, you can:

  • drop in for tech help
  • practice English as a Second Language with grammar, conversation and reading clubs
  • learn more about newspaper resources for genealogy research
  • get job search support at the Workforce Services Division of Will County Mobile Workforce Center
  • learn how to get started on Pinterest
  • knit or crochet with new friends
  • find the latest apps and share your favorites
  • improve your skills on Microsoft Word 
  • meet an inspirational author
And that's just the events for adults! The amount of return on your investment in the Library is up to you.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

National Library Week Recognition by Congressman Foster

Today, to commemorate National Library Week, Congressman Bill Foster spoke on the House floor about how libraries are strengthening and serving our communities.

Full text:

Thank you Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to commemorate National Library Week – and to celebrate how local libraries continue to be a vital resource in communities across this nation.

Libraries have evolved beyond buildings of quiet study into engaging community centers – where people can gather to collaborate on projects, children can come to participate in educational activities, and job-seekers can use as a resource for help finding connections with employers.

National Library Week is a perfect opportunity to highlight the services being provided in libraries, by librarians and staff focused on creating environments where people can not only find the information they need – but use that information to better themselves and their communities.

Counting both public and private, there are nearly 120,000 libraries across the United States, which together employ more than 350,000 people, and provide services to millions of Americans each year.

In my district, I’ve seen this transformation taking place – where access to the latest technologies like 3D printers and laser cutters can often be found at the local library.

Libraries across this country continue to serve as centers of education, research, and community involvement.

Thank you to the librarians and staff who strive to make the local library a gathering place for everyone – the work you are doing is strengthening this country and making our neighborhoods better places to live.

Thank you, and I yield back.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Three Public Meetings Added

Public meetings will be held in early April to garner feedback for the Plainfield Public Library District’s Board of Trustees as they plan for the Library’s future. In addition to four open house events to be held at the Library, three open forum events at other locations will provide residents with an opportunity to express their opinions and priorities for the Library’s next steps.

The three public meetings will be held:

Tuesday, April 5
7:00 to 8:00 PM
Plainfield Township
22525 W. Lockport Street
Plainfield, IL 60544

Wednesday, April 6
7:00 to 8:00 PM
Wheatland Township
4232 Tower Court
Naperville, IL 60564

Saturday, April 9
10:00 to 11:00 AM (following Coffee with the Superintendent)
Plainfield School District 202
Administrative Center
15732 Howard Street
Plainfield IL 60544

Along with the four open houses planned for the following week in the Library, these public meetings provide opportunities for our concerned citizens to talk face-to-face with Library Trustees and staff about next steps in planning future library services.

To provide your feedback online, go to http://tinyurl.com/ppldfeedback

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tell Us Your Priorities at Open Houses

Like the National Library Week open house events that kicked off the public portion of  the Library's building planning last year, all are invited to tell us what you think, find out more about library services and programs, and share your priorities for library services.

These four open house, drop-in events provide everyone with an opportunity to express opinions and priorities for the Library’s next steps in providing facilities and services. Based on the “Libraries Transform” theme for National Library Week, the open houses also offer the opportunity to discover how the Library can help you grow and change through online learning, job and career services, ESL clubs, book discussion groups, technology training and much more. Join us in the Library's Small Meeting Room on:

Monday, April 11, 2:00 to 4:00 PM
Wednesday, April 13, 7:00 to 8:30 PM
Friday, April 15, 9:30 to 11:30 AM
Saturday, April 16, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Drop in to meet the staff, learn about how we can help you and celebrate the wealth of opportunity you can find at your Library. Refreshments will be served, plus prizes and a drawing for a Kindle eReader.

Additional off-site public meetings are being planned. Updates will be posted as information is released.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Get the Facts on Library Referendum

Emails, social media commentary, robocalls – there’s a lot of misleading and inaccurate information being spread about the Library’s referenda on the March 15 ballot.

For example, the robocalls are being made to voters in the Plainfield Public Library District by Americans for Prosperity, a national conservative political action group. The calls reportedly state a cost of $2,600 for the average homeowner over the life of the $39 million building bonds in the ballot question. This estimated cost assumes that the value of property within the Plainfield Public Library District remains the same for 20 years.

But here at the Library, helping people access accurate information is a critical part of what we do. For that reason, the planning process for the referenda included 22 public meetings over 8 months, a telephone survey and online feedback surveys. Every step of the process was documented on the Building & Expansion Planning web page, with supporting documentation available. This blog also contains posts that address many common questions – and those sources of misinformation. 

Edited to add a little more information on the true estimated cost:

The $39 million building bond portion will be paid off in 20 years and automatically be removed from your tax bill. About $12 of the estimated $15 per month increase to the average home ($300,000) is the bond amount. The bond repayment tax rate generally decreases over time as new property is annexed or develops, spreading the fixed payment amount over a larger tax base. The bond rate on the existing Library was 0.1657 in its first year, but dropped to 0.0094 by the final (20th) year.

The funds generated by a limiting rate increase will be used to operate the new Library building. It’s a 19% increase in operating funds for a building nearly triple the size of the current building. After the one year specified in the question, the Library’s tax rate will be subject to the tax cap again, with the new base limiting rate. About $3 of the estimated $15 per month increase to the average home ($300,000) is the limiting rate increase amount.

Don't forget that for every $1 invested in the Library, the community receives $5.93 in services today!

As always, you can call, chat, message, email, text or stop by the Library to get your questions answered!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

New Plainfield Library, Yes or No

The following response is based on a letter to the editor in the Times Weekly, posing nine questions about the Library’s proposed expansion. The text in red is the unedited letter as found here: http://thetimesweekly.com/news/2016/mar/02/new-plainfield-library-yes-or-no/ The text in black is answers to questions, clarifications and context.

1) Has the Plainfield School District ever been contacted to avoid a duplication of services? Would it not be possible for one taxing body to work along with another taxing body to provide a common library service, instructors, meeting areas, share equipment and parking during the entire year.
The Library supports early literacy development before children are of school age, extends learning beyond the school day and helps hold kids at grade level over the summer when school is not in session: http://plainfieldlibrarydirector.blogspot.com/2016/03/14-critical-public-library-services.html 

2) What are the actual recorded numbers of citizens (adults & children) using the current facility, busiest months, days and time during the day?
Here is the summary of use in FY2015: http://plainfieldpubliclibrary.org/about/pdf/board/2015%20Annual%20Report%20Summary.pdf and the Citizens Information Center where the Board packets, including monthly statistics, are posted regularly:  http://plainfieldpubliclibrary.org/about/citizens-information-center.aspx What cannot be quantified is how many don’t bother to come because they know there will be nowhere to study quietly, how many didn’t get to register for the program because it was full and how many use neighboring library’s facilities because their own does not meet their needs.
3) Why was this particular very confined location chosen where future expansion is limited?
Question #2 on the FAQ page has your answer: http://plainfieldpubliclibrary.org/about/building-expansion-faq.aspx
"The current site is located very near the geographic center of the Library District. The Library Board of Trustees decided early in the planning process to pursue only single site options due to the cost of operating two facilities. An alternate site was considered. Public meetings and online surveys showed overwhelming support for the Library to remain at its current location. Reasons cited by participants in public meetings included its being an anchor to the downtown and convenience of access. See http://plainfieldpubliclibrary.org/about/pdf/15_0611_PPL%20Public%20Presentation.pdf "

4) When was the decision made to build new rather than add to and remodel?

At the July 2015 Library Board Meeting, which was open to the public in addition to the two public planning meetings that month. Scroll down to the section Summary of Feedback Presentation - July Board Meeting on the Building and Expansion Planning web page: http://plainfieldpubliclibrary.org/about/building-expansion-planning.aspx

5) What are the results of the traffic study (current & projected), parking spaces available for employees, visitors, maintenance staff, groups (seniors) arriving by bus and ease of entry for emergency vehicles?

There was not a traffic study per se, but concerns about the safety of access, inclusion of a service drive, the ability to circumnavigate the parking without going onto Route 59 are referenced throughout the public meeting summaries. In particular, Renovation Concept 3 in the July presentation shows these concerns in relation to new construction vs. adding on. http://plainfieldpubliclibrary.org/about/pdf/2015-07-15%20Board%20meeting%20presentation%20and%20summary.pdf

6) Will area contractors be considered to bid on this project?

Final design and specifications will not begin until after a successful referendum and a delivery method (construction management, general contractor) has not yet been determined by the Board of Trustees. The Library Board of Trustees is bound by state law in the procurement of construction services and many area contractors may qualify.

7) Upon completion how many additional good full time jobs will this project create for the people of Plainfield?

We're estimating 5-6 full time positions and additional part time positions. The final determination of hiring needs will depend on many factors including qualified applicants from within, changes to existing positions, final design and services to be added. For example, if the digital media lab is a separate room from the public use computers area, it will be staffed differently than if the two areas are contiguous and open to one another. Again, final design begins after a successful referendum.

8) The size of this building may require larger special fire fighting equipment to reach the higher areas of this building?

We do not anticipate the need to specialized firefighting equipment, but I will defer to the Plainfield Fire Protection District on this.

9) Which leads to new facilities to house larger fire fighting equipment and additional training for our fire fighters?

The Plainfield Fire Protection District will be responsible for the training and equipping of their personnel. I can say that the Library will not be the largest building in their service area, nor the one with the greatest fire hazards.

It is understood some library users have experienced a slight over crowding, intense back ground noise and the lack of use of a free computer. It is true some popular activities for children may require you to deliver your child early.

One study room that holds four people maximum and 75,337 people to serve. Shelving through the entire upper level that is over 7 feet tall, with highest and lowest shelves used. You could call it slight overcrowding. https://scontent.ford1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpl1/t31.0-8/12792359_10154171589597448_3701209857617931892_o.jpg

However, it seems a small price to pay for the hundreds if not thousands of dollars per year people have saved by using this antiquated library.

For every dollar invested in the Library, the community receives $6 in services: http://plainfieldlibrarydirector.blogspot.com/2016/03/roi-for-library-tax-dollars-shows-value.html For the average homeowner, the cost increase would be less than $180 per year.

Shouldn't 'We the People' be better informed before we are asked vote YES or NO.

The Plainfield Public Library District’s web site has answers to your questions on the Building and Expansion Planning web page to help you make an informed decision: http://plainfieldpubliclibrary.org/about/building-expansion-planning.aspx