Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Rain Has Ended

Thankfully, the HVAC technician was able to get to the Library quickly. He determined that gasket on pipe in the boiler system was leaking and would have to be replaced. The pipe was isolated and heat restored, pending replacement of the gasket tomorrow since that's apparently a two-man job.

The elevator is working fine after its earlier bid for attention.

Early next week, I hope to announce our new Head of Maintenance. He can't start soon enough, in my opinion.

It's Raining in the Library!

A pipe is leaking in the lower level lobby. We know its boiler system water because it smells like anti-freeze.

I shut off the pumps and water to the system at the boiler per the instructions of our HVAC maintenance company. An HVAC technician is on his way.

Plus, just to pile on the problems this morning, the elevator was acting up again. Thankfully, it continues to "park" itself at the lower level so anyone aboard may exit.

Acting as Head of Maintenance while we are searching for one, I can tell you that I understand more fully than ever the extent of the issues with this building. We cannot get a new Head of Maintenance started soon enough!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Question of the Day: Can you create a "no cell phone zone" in the Library?

Thank you to the resident who took the time to request this via our Suggestion Box (upstairs near the Welcome Desk in case you haven't seen it). This individual commented on noise in the Original Library Room and made the suggestion that we create a "no cell phone zone."

The Library Code of Conduct states: "Be aware of noise levels and do not disturb others. When using headphones, set the volume so others cannot hear it. Turn cell phone ringers off." Please let Library staff know if someone is not abiding by the Code of Conduct.

The space constraints of this Library building, the volume of use it supports and collection it houses necessitates that each space in the Library serve multiple functions. For this reason, it is not practical to enforce a cell-phone free zone at this time. The Original Library Room houses the Local History and magazine collections and acts as a small group study area. As the location of the majority of group study tables available on the upper level, it is not a quiet space.

There are two options available for those seeking quiet space in the Library: the Study Room and the bay window area on the upper level. The Study Room, across from the Welcome Desk, is available on a first-come first-served basis. You may request to use this room by stopping at the Welcome Desk. It is the only quiet study room available but is also used as a staff meeting space. The bay window area, which now contains the last remaining study carrels in the Library, tends to be one of the quieter areas of the Library, particularly during the day on weekdays. However, it is open to the main areas of the Library and quiet cannot be guaranteed.

This suggestion will be used to inform planning process for the Board of Trustees as they look to the future of our Library.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Planning for an Uncertain Future

Planning for the future has been on my mind. With the Library Board looking at modifying its expansion plans and updating our Long Range Plan for the next 5 years (particularly in regards to keeping this building functional) and with my appointment to a committee planning for the future of Illinois' regional library systems, it's to be expected that this is at the forefront of my thoughts. The only thing for certain in all of these planning processes is uncertainty. With economic uncertainty splashed throughout the media, shifting demands and needs in a community that is increasingly diverse, and a changing political landscape, creating a plan for the future is a challenge. Our plans must be flexible, scalable, efficient, responsive and responsible.

But how can library service evolve in a way that incorporates these concepts? The next evolution of our local Library and our regional library systems are set in the context of this uncertain future. It is an opportunity to shift our paradigm, to rethink the traditional model. Prioritizing needs will be crucial to finding a new model to meet the most immediate educational and informational needs in our community and our state within the means available.

Three planning processes with the uncertain future in common. That's quite a set of tasks ahead.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rethinking Illinois' Regional Library Systems

In 1965, Illinois pioneered a model of multi-type library cooperation and resource sharing with the creation of regional library systems. The 18 regional systems created by the state statute supported library development, collections, interlibrary loans and reference services. Training and consulting were key services provided to help libraries develop and meet the needs of their individual communities.

Over the past 45 years, those regional library systems have merged and evolved. Shared catalogs that allow instant access to the holdings of multiple libraries became the primary means of resource sharing, replacing the traditional interlibrary loan with a more efficient process. Delivery of items among libraries grew into the backbone of resource sharing as the regional library systems supported it with the means to physically move items from one library to another. Other states looked to Illinois as the leader in library resource sharing and cooperation, the standard by which other states measured their success.

Today, the 10 remaining regional library systems will become three by June 30, 2011. With the State of Illinois more than eight months behind in payments to the regional library systems, each regional library system slashed services according to the Illinois State Library's top three priorities: shared catalog, delivery and the talking book centers that support the federal Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. The five northern systems and four southern systems took the radical step to begin merging earlier this year. The Chicago Public Library acts as its own regional library system and is not involved in the merger process.

For librarians, the next evolution of the regional library systems brings an opportunity to continue Illinois' leadership in library resource sharing. What will the new model look like? What services are the most vital to library development and resource sharing? How can we meet the needs of residents as efficiently as possible and within the limited means of the State of Illinois? The challenge before us is daunting. But we begin from a position of strength, with a strong tradition of responsive service that meets the needs of our unique communities through cooperation and sharing.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Boilers, Compressors and Head on Maintenance Candidates

The saga of the Library building's systems issues continues. The boiler is down and awaiting repairs. The HVAC compressor on Unit 1 is down and awaiting repairs. The parts for both repairs have been ordered. The HVAC repair should occur this week, according to the estimated arrival date for the parts. The boiler parts will take 3 more weeks. In the meantime, ambient temperatures in the Library will depend on the weather. The advice we are giving staff and customers is to dress in layers for the next 3-4 weeks when you come to the Library!

On a positive note, the first interviews for Head of Maintenance are underway. We received over 160 resumes for the position, many from highly qualified candidates. From the great pool of applicants, I am confident that a Head of Maintenance will be hired within the next month and working within the next six weeks or so.

Personally, I am looking forward to having someone other than me climbing the ladder to the roof to look at the HVAC unit and crawling on the floor of the Boiler Room to peer into the boiler with the contractors.