Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Not Your Grandmother's Library" Strikes a Cord with Some

Its seems that the title of the lead article on the Library's latest newsletter has struck a cord with some residents - and not in a good way! We have received phone calls from two grandmothers who found this title offensive to them as grandmothers.

The newsletter article title is intended to be interesting and catchy - a subtle encouragement to find out more by reading the article's content. With the wide variety of services and collections available today that did not exist even ten years ago, I wanted to highlight how library services have changed. Many of the library's 21st century services, like Text-a-Librarian, were not even possible until recently.

I sincerely apologize to our community members who found the title to be derogatory. That was not the intent. My own grandmother, herself an avid library user, reminds me of the importance of being respectful of the different points of view of others.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

From the Suggestion Box: Workmans' vehicles in the parking lot

This was in the suggestion box recently:

"It would be nice if outside vendors, such as Inland Steel trucks, Windows & Siding, could park in the back lot or on street and leave front parking for patrons & visitors, elderly & small children."

I completely understand and concur with the sentiment: in a perfect world, we would always leave the closest parking spaces for the patrons, particularly for the elderly and parents with small children. However, the Library staff are doing the best they can with what we have.

In general, outside vendor vehicles are parked in staff spaces - most frequently those directly adjacent to the staff entrance on the side of the building. Remember - there is no loading dock or service entrance on this building, only the staff and main entrances. One of the reasons that the staff spaces extend as far as they do is to be able to utilize the nearest spaces for loading and vendors.

Second, the back lot, regardless or whether you are referring to the Illinois Street or Route 59 lots, do not belong to the Library. We cannot designate Library parking in either lot. This summer, the Library is contracted to purchase the Route 59 parking lot from the Village, allowing the Library to designate spaces for staff.

Lastly, Inland Steel has not done work for the Library in the past year, nor have we had windows or siding replaced. The Library does request vendors doing work for the Library park in designated spaces. The roofing contractors used staff spaces during their project. Keep in mind that the Library is a public building - and people who drive work trucks use it too.

I understand that the parking at the Library is not ideal. We're doing the best we can with what we have.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Trustee Applications Due March 1

March 1st is the deadline to apply for the vacant position on the Plainfield Public Library District’s Board of Trustees. This fun, exciting (unpaid) public service opportunity gives you a chance to help the library serve the community. The Board of Trustees meets regularly on the third Wednesday of each month. Additional meetings are set as needed.

Authorized by state law to fill a vacancy by appointment until the next regularly-scheduled Trustee election, the Library Board seeks applicants for the position to fill the unexpired term until April 2011. Applicants may be interviewed by the Board Development Committee in March.

Any US citizen, 18 or over and residing in the Plainfield Public Library District, may apply. Interested parties are asked to submit a letter of application and a resume of any pertinent experience and interests.

You can mail it to us at Plainfield Public Library District Board of Trustees, 15025 S. Illinois Street, Plainfield, IL 60544 or email it to me directly.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Going High Tech the Low Cost, Low Tech Way

Thanks to our smart and savvy staffers at the Library, we are going high-tech on Library signs without the high cost!

We'd seen the wonderful digital signs at other libraries and businesses, with scrolling signs and information on big plasma TVs. Just a little research showed that those systems were way out of our price range. But the staff didn't take that to mean it was impossible to do.

The Marketing Committee took it as a challenge. How do we get the scrolling digital signs without the high cost? Digital picture frames! With inexpensive memory cards, the Committee could change out the signs scrolling on each weekly without a lot of cost for the signs or in staff time maintaining them. The catch was finding inexpensive digital picture frames large enough to make this work.

Staffer Cindy Caswell just happened to be in Staples on her own time and noticed a great deal on large digital picture frames, which she immediately reported to the group. And it just so happened that the Library's Foundation received a $1,000 gift card from Staples last year. Though most of that gift card was used to purchase a new laptop projector for the Large Meeting Room, there was a bit leftover. Four 12" x 9" digital picture frames were purchased. The Library already owned one smaller frame from a previous use. Memory cards were purchased to make the updating of the frames easier. Our Head of Maintenance, Chuck, and the Committee brainstormed the perfect way to mount them on the Check Out Desk upstairs and near the Self-Check Outs on the lower level.

The whole project came together for a cost of just $200 out of the Library's coffers! Stop by and see our digital signs! There are five located at different service desks in the Library.