Monday, August 31, 2009

Internet Hoaxes Highlight the Need for Library Services

You may have seen the videos or read the news in an email that spread like wildfire across the world via the Internet:

Michael Jackson is alive - watch the video of him getting out of the coroner's van!

Jeff Goldblum is dead in an accident on the set of his new movie in New Zealand!

Neither is true. Both are recent hoaxes that made their way throughout the virtual world through emails and YouTube and fake news stories.

This is a great example of why libraries are needed! Your local library connects you to information you can trust - information from vetted and juried sources. The databases and resources available through your library are reliable, unlike so many Internet sources that can be posted by anyone with a PC and a little skill in HTML coding. These hoaxes drive home the point that in our technology-savvy world, we cannot take every bit of information that we read or view as fact. There is information beyond the first page of Google hits - information you can trust, information your local library can provide.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

From the Suggestion Box: Why are audiobooks on the bottom shelves? I can't reach them.

I am sorry that you had difficulty reaching the items you wanted. Library staff are available to help you access items. Just ask at any service desk or any staffer who is in the stacks!

In a perfect world, everything in the Library would be shelved at a height between the knees and eye level of the average adult. But we do not live in a perfect world. Our reality is that the Library building here in Plainfield was designed to house a maximum of 65,000 items. The Library currently owns over 125,000 items. This means that we have to use the bottom shelves and the top shelves, and every shelf in between.

When any new library is built, the top and bottom shelves are generally unused, providing space for the growth of that library's collection. As the collection grows, those shelves are filled until there are no unused shelves. This is the situation that the Plainfield Library is in today. Some of you may remember when the Fiction collection was divided by genres, with things like Romance and Mystery in separate sections. Because that requires space between collections, the decision was made to interfile the Fiction collections, reclaiming the shelves that used to separate the genre collections to maximize the amount of items shelved.

The shelving project slated to begin in September will continue to add shelves for our collections at the expense of accessibility. The new shelving will be the tallest available. Keeping up with the recreational and informational needs of the community is our goal. To do that, the collection must continue to grow. As it does, space is at a premium. Every inch of shelf space will continue to be used at the Plainfield Library for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Caution: Changes Ahead!

Don't say we didn't warn you! The Library will be undergoing some significant changes this fall.

Overall, shelving will be taller - and there will be more of it. Some aisles will be narrower (Americans with Disabilities Act minimum 36" rather than the preferred 42"). Tables and seating will be closer together. Local History and genealogy collections will be housed in the Original Library, along with newspapers and magazines. One Study Room will still be available for public use, but it will be the former Local History Room on the upper level. The changes will be phased in throughout the fall, with a target of November for completion of all phases.

Today, the Youth Services Desk reconfiguration began. The last piece will be remade and delivered Monday. Already, the space has a new feel. The Desk has moved forward and is narrower. The openings are on the sides, allowing staff to come and go more freely.

For the next step, the new shelving is ordered and scheduled for delivery. The plan is being finalized for the relocation of the existing shelving and furniture. It's tentatively scheduled to begin September 14. The Library will be open during the process, though the actual installation and physical moving of existing shelves is slated to occur in the early AM before the library opens to the public. The process is anticipated to take a week for the actual installation and relocation.

Shifting of collections to new locations and onto new shelving will require a little more time, since all of that work will be done by Library staff while still conducting business as usual. Our fabulous Pages, led by Lisa and Sheilah, are the ones performing the bulk of that work.

The final piece of the project will be the relocation of the Study Room and changes to staff spaces that will take place once the shelving installation and relocation. Stay tuned for more on that!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Illinois Public Library Annual Report - What a Year!

The staff and I have been compiling year-end data for the Illinois Public Library Annual Report. Our fiscal year ends June 30. This report must be submitted to the State of Illinois by September 1.

Here are some highlights from the report:

Visits: 500,872
Programs Held: 1,599
Program Attendance: 51,254
Card Holders: 29,916
Books/Print Resources Owned: 124,746
Non Print Resources Owned: 19,710
Check Outs: 612,228
Reference Questions Answered: 55,069
PC Uses Logged: 42,517

That's up 10% on most measures in a single year!

Monday, August 3, 2009

1,145 Attend Finale, Star Elected Mascot!

Despite the rain, over 1,100 people turned out to enjoy the Plainfield Public Library District's Grand Finale event! "Read on the Wild Side" Summer Reading program ended with carnival games, inflatables, frozen custard sundaes, popcorn, snow cones and fun for the whole family. One patron remarked "Plainfield Library really knows how to treat its kids!" Hundreds of kids petted an alligator, got their faces painted, played games, enjoyed treats, and won prizes.

Over two dozen sponsors helped to make the program possible with donations of cash and prizes.

The Friends of the Library sponsored the election of a library mascot for the year. Star, a sweet brindle greyhound, won the election. Look for Star to attend library events throughout the year.

Thank you to our friends at PlainfieldTV for coming out to cover the event! Look for us on PlainfieldTV!