Friday, January 28, 2011

Focus Groups to Help the Library Plan for the Future

The Plainfield Public Library District wants your input on the future of the Library. Using a streamlined planning process outlined in the American Library Association’s publication, “Planning for Results”, four focus groups will gather information from residents on community needs. Your opinions and ideas will help the Library Board of Trustees and staff make decisions about budgets and services for the next 3-5 years. All it takes to join the conversation is a willingness to participate and a commitment to attend one Strategic Planning session.

Focus group sessions will be held on:
• Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 7:00pm
• Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 10:00am
• Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 7:00pm
• Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 1:00pm

All sessions will take place in the Library’s Large Meeting Room with a volunteer facilitator. The focus groups are open to all residents of the Library District. Refreshments will be served. Visit our web site at to register for one of the Strategic Plan Focus Groups. Pre-registration is encouraged but not required.

Childcare will be available during the Thursday, February 3 and Thursday, February 24 focus group sessions for the Plainfield Public Library. Volunteers will supervise age-appropriate crafts, stories and games with the kids in the Storytime Room from 7-8pm to allow parents and caregivers to attend the focus group session. Childcare will not be available for the Saturday sessions.

Come share your thoughts, opinions and ideas for the future of library service in Plainfield!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Enterprise Asked "How Does the Library Compete?"

In case you missed it, the Enterprise newspaper's recap of 2010 issue included an editorial that asked about how the Library competes in today's technology-driven world. Below is my response, also printed in this week's newspaper:

The “Happy New Year?” editorial asked “How does the library compete in an ever increasingly [sic] technological market?”

Technology is a tool. Books may have been the first tool used by public libraries to provide access to information, but they are not the only tool. Technology has reshaped the way libraries deliver information, but the basic mission of providing access to information continues. Plainfield Public Library District uses technology to keep up with the needs of the Plainfield community in a time when demand for service is greater than ever.

In 2010, you checked out over 756,000 items from the Plainfield Public Library, an increase of 24% over 2009. Those check outs include a wide variety of formats beyond books: ebooks, downloadable audiobooks, video games, CD audiobooks, DVDs, music CDs, Blu-Ray DVDs, downloadable videos, software on CD and more. Not included in that figure is your access to dozens of databases and online services like and Homework Help Now that would not be available without today’s technology.

Computers and Internet for the public are core services at your Library, never dreamt of when public libraries were invented. You can get access to your Library’s resources and collections with a Library computer or your own, in the Library or from anywhere in the world, using the Library’s wired connection, free Wi-Fi or your own Internet access to connect to the wide range of services and collections available to you from the Library’s 24/7 branch: the Library website At Plainfield Public Library, you can find both computers and help using them - from getting your resume printed out to a computer class for learning new skills, from a quick answer to a “how do I…” question to Book a Librarian one-on-one training. In December alone, users logged onto Library computers for over 6,200 sessions, more than 18 public computers used every minute the Plainfield Public Library was open in December. Demand for Library computers has swelled from 3,700 sessions in 2004 to nearly 50,000 in 2010. Whether you type a paper, check your email or fill out an online application for a job, this service is essential to many who cannot afford or choose not to have a computer or high-speed Internet access at home.

Beyond offering more formats than ever before and computers for public use, Plainfield Public Library is keeping up with the latest technology you want to use. E-readers were the must-have gift this Christmas. Your Library was ready with the MyMediaMall downloadable collection of ebooks and downloadable audiobooks. So many library users went on the MyMediaMall site in the first few days after Christmas, the site crashed. Upon its revival, you checked out nearly the entire Plainfield Public Library ebook collection, prompting your Library staff to make increasing the ebook and downloadable collections a priority. One of only 17 libraries selected from throughout the United States to pilot the Sony Reader Library Program, your Library is partnering with Sony and local businesses to market e-readers, downloadable collections and how to use them. Starting with e-readers donated by Sony, you can now check out e-readers, adding one more way technology is changing how you use your Library.

Today’s question is not how libraries compete, but how does your Library keep up with your needs as technology changes? Plainfield Public Library District uses technology as a tool in its mission to Educate - Captivate - Connect.