Thursday, September 22, 2011

Board Considers Timeline for Expansion Planning Following Open Forums

At the Wednesday, September 21, 2011 Library Board meeting, Trustees discussed the results of the four Open Forums on Future Expansion Planning. Summaries of the results were sent to each Trustee and posted on the Library's website. Summaries include not only the four formal sessions, but also feedback received through a display of the preliminary options at the Library on Monday, September 19, comments in online news media, verbal feedback to Trustees and staff and emails.

Trustees tabled a decision on the timeline for future expansion planning until the October 19 Board meeting. The current timeline is set to prepare for a possible 2012 or 2013 referendum.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Changes Coming This Week!

The next big changes to the public areas of the library will happen this week. New shelving is scheduled for installation on Thursday. Five new 90" tall ranges of shelving, behind the Reference Desk, will make space for collections like Books on CD, Large Print, Foreign Languages and Biographies. Music CDs will be moving to this area too, making room for two new ranges of 90" tall shelves in the center of the main stack area, between Fiction and Non-Fiction. The shorter shelving that will be replaced by these new tall ranges will be moving to the lower level to give more space for Youth and Teen collections.

The new wall, dividing the Original Library into two rooms is ready to be painted. This will be the new Board Room and the Local History and Magazine Room. The new Board Room should open within the next few weeks.

You may also have noticed the exterior painting project that's been underway. The Library was looking a bit shabby during the power washing and preparation for the painting. But the end results is a definite improvement.

These changes are all a part of the Design on a Dimetm style project, maximizing every inch of the Library's limited space. Room for seating will be limited by the addition of more shelving.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Open Forums on Expansion Planning

Tonight at 7pm will be the second of four Open Forums to discuss the Library's expansion plan revision process. What direction do you, our residents, want to see the Library take? Are you ready for the plan to be revised now, to consider a 2012 or 2013 referendum? Or wait and spend money on replacing major systems in an undersized building? Those are the key questions to be answered through this process.

The Open Forum session start with a presentation about the library's history and the use of the library today. A few key points from that presentation:
  • Library services have changed drastically since this building was designed. Public computers and Internet access are now core library services.
  • No one predicted, or could plan for, the unprecedented growth in the library district and the impact of the fundamental change in library services experienced at the same time.
  • Library use increased more than just what can be accounted for by the change in population, not only by more than double the population increase for check outs, but also by over a thousand percent in reference questions answered, PC use and program attendance.
Today, the building is less than half the size it should be to serve our population according to state and national library standards. It also needs some major work to replace aging HVAC, windows, carpet etc. If the community wants to address the space needs in the next 2-3 years, then the building issues can be fixed short term to make it through to an expansion. If the community does not want to address the space needs in the next few years, more extensive and expensive replacement of systems must be done. The more money spent on maintaining the building, the less money there is to keep up with that skyrocketing demand for service. Where do you want your investment in library services to go?

Open Forums are tonight, Tuesday 9/13 at 7pm, Thursday 9/15 at 11am and Monday 9/19 at 7pm in the Large Meeting Room.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Why Do We Still Need Libraries? We Have the Internet.

This interesting tidbit crossed my desk recently: The Google Gap

Your search results are only as good as your query. As any of our Reference staff can tell you, people still need help finding answers to their questions. If anything, the sheer volume of readily accessible information can make searching more difficult. Your answer can be buried deep if you can't refine search results! That's where librarians' skills are invaluable - they not only know where to search, they are experts on how to search.

I have the statistics to prove it: in the last 10 years, reference questions answered at the Library are up 145%, over 54,000 questions last year.