Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tornado Commemoration Program Misprints!

Well, both the Joliet Herald News and the Chicago Tribune had misprints about the Tornado Commemoration Program scheduled for 10:00AM and 1:00PM tomorrow. Both are being held at the Village Hall, not the Library.

I apologize for any confusion or inconvenience this causes. The correct information was published in the Library newsletter and the Enterprise.

You can still register for these programs here:

Tornado Program with Fox News Meteorologist Amy Freeze at 10:00AM

Tornado Program with Fox News Meteorologist Amy Freeze at 1:00PM

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Farewell, Libraries? Not Likely!

This blog post was forwarded to me by one of my staff: Farewell Libraries?

The rise of ebooks brings up the question of the future of libraries, one that has been asked since the first personal computers hit the market. Libraries have evolved along with technology. While most people's first association with a library is still a printed book, library users today find a wide variety of resources available to them: books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, computers, online databases, ebooks, downloadable audiobooks and more. Librarians have the expertise to search beyond the first page of Google hits to help you find information to answer complex questions with reliable sources.

Libraries bridge the "digital divide", the gap between those who can afford gadgets and computers and high-speed Internet access and those who cannot (or whose PC crashes at an inopportune moment). In most communities in the US, the one place you can go to use a computer for free is the public library. If you don't have the means to own a computer or ebook reader, libraries can provide access. Yes, as libraries continue to evolve along with technology, they will change. They already have. Ten years ago, public access computers were not a core service at the Plainfield Public Library. Today, over 135 people per day sign on to a public computer at the library.

Sure, ebooks are more popular now than ever before. That's why the Plainfield Library offers ebooks and downloadable audiobooks! Like public computers, access to ebooks is just one more service we offer as the library evolves to meet your needs.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The State Library Weighs In

Thanks to my friend Laura Barnes and other librarians who love social networking for plastering that last post all over Facebook et al.

I received a phone call from an Illinois State Library staff member. Unfortunately, I was busy bailing water out of my basement at home, not in the office to take the call but that's another story. The State Library wanted to clarify that LSTA grants and construction grants are separate. The State funds the construction grants. Apologies if I was unclear about this. It is the State's funding of construction grants that has dried up in recent years. They are, however, working on funding a new round of construction grants late this year or next fiscal year.

So my statement that there are no construction grants for Illinois public libraries this year may not be true. The State may yet fund some. Keep your fingers crossed!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Second Year in a Row - No Competitive Grants

The Illinois State Library announced in their e-newsletter last week that, like last fiscal year, there will be no competitive grants for libraries. This means no special project grants, construction grants, etc.

Grants for public libraries are not easy to come by for us. Many foundations that fund grants for service organizations will not give to governments entities like public libraries. Those that do, like the Gates Foundation, tend to focus on poor and/or rural libraries. Plainfield falls into neither of those categories by the funder's definitions.

The primary funders for public library grants for us have been the state and federal government. As you probably are well aware, the State of Illinois has slashed grant funding. Competitive grants funded by the State were cut years ago. The federal grants, the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), are administered by the State. Well, with the State funds drying up, LSTA, which used to be used for competitive grants (such as our digitization project with the Plainfield Historical Society and Will County Recorder of Deeds two years ago) are now being used to lessen the blow to non-competitive grants cuts.

The Illinois Public Library Per Capita Grant is, by statute, supposed to give every public library $1.25 per person residing in the library's service area every year. It has not been fully funded for many years. Last year, it was slated for a 47% reduction. To mitigate the cut, the Illinois State Library eliminated competitive LSTA grants and used the funds for Per Capita grants. The overall cut was only 16% once the LSTA funds were included.

But for your local public library, the end result is the same: less money to go around at the time libraries are the busiest and the most needed.