Archive for April, 2010

Fall 7 times—stand up 8
Japanese Proverb

As the proverb states: when you fall down, you have to dust yourself off and get up again. The past two years at the library definitely fit that axiom.

We have never been more successful regarding services to our patrons. An average of 600 people a day use our facility. Last year we circulated an almost record amount of materials: more than 246,000 items. Our five story times are at or near capacity every week. In other words, we are a hit.

However, when you take a look at our financial ledger, we are not so successful. Our operating budget has lost money four out of the past five years. Over that period, we have lost $143,747—mainly through cuts from the state.

The reason we are still open after racking up this deficit is that we were able to draw from a small financial cushion. That cushion is now depleted and we are forced to cut hours, reduce book purchases and eliminate some digital databases. The current 2010 budget is actually smaller than the 1998 budget even though many expenses such as insurance and utilities are now much higher.

Over the past few months patrons and members of our community have responded to our appeals for help. The generosity has been heartwarming and to everyone who has given, we thank you.

We still need help. We at MPL understand that this is a tough economy with many groups and organizations in need. I have listed below several ways in which anyone can help the library with or without involving money. Please take a moment to peruse the following list and see if you see yourself contributing in some way.

* Most of us have books that we don’t want any more: why not donate them to the library? Books that cannot be used in the collection will be sold at the semi-annual sale, placed on the regular sale shelf or sold on Amazon.com. If you have heavy boxes or bags, please call ahead at 336-1773, ext. 303 and ask for Gary. He will arrange to have someone at the library assist in unloading your materials.

* Due to cutbacks, all of our landscaping budget has been eliminated this year. Consider donating mulch. We went through 20 yards of the stuff last year. Or if you can donate just a few dollars at the main floor box marked “Front Flowers,” we will put it to good use—either towards mulch or flowers.

* Think about giving a lasting donation in your will to the library. We have an informative brochure titled “Get Involved” which provides all details. Request a copy at the Main Desk or call my office at 336-1773, ext. 302 for more details.

* Finally, we welcome donations to the Patron’s Drive. Every dollar goes to purchase new materials. With our trade discount, we get almost twice the buying power. I know of no other organization that makes a dollar go further.

These are difficult times indeed, but with your help we will continue to dust ourselves off and remain standing.

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As many of you are aware, the library has had to reduce hours, cut materials budgets and furlough staff as a direct result of decreased revenue from the Commonwealth. Even though the library is not able to purchase everything we would like, Crawford County residents have been generously donating books and movies. Items that are not added to the library collections may be sold at either the spring or fall Friends of the Library Book Sale to help fund special projects. Because of these donations, we have added books on kitchen and bathroom remodeling, flowers and flower gardening and current non-fiction bestsellers. Among the DVDs added to the movie collection are the first three seasons of 24 with Keifer Sutherland, seasons one and two of Smallville, and the original Star Trek television series on video.

Although the library is buying fewer new items, the main floor staff is committed to providing our patrons with continued access to quality print and audio books, DVDs, videos, ILL (interlibrary loan), reference service and internet computers. In fact, two more internet computers have been added to the main floor for a total of nine.

We thank all of you for continuing to support the library. Please stop in to say hello and check out what we have to offer the community.

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However you say it, say hello to Mango Languages, a new electronic resource available to Meadville Public Library patrons.

Mango Languages is an online language learning system that you can use in your own home. Choose from Basic or Complete courses. The Basic course teaches you some elementary phrases and cultural knowledge for 22 languages. If you want to learn more, choose the Complete courses which are aimed at students who want to move beyond basic language skills. There are currently nine Complete courses to choose from including Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Additionally, Mango provides Basic courses in 14 languages for English as a Second Language (ESL) learners.

Look for the Mango Languages button on the Library’s home page (http://meadvillelibrary.org). From home, you will need your Meadville Library card to log on, just like the Power Library databases. Enter your Power Library code (the blue sticker) starting with PL and then your eight-digit bar code. Create an account to keep track of your progress, pick a language and start conversing in a new language today! If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Library’s Main Desk , (814) 336-1773 ext. 303.

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An ocean of fun awaits children of the Meadville area this summer as the Children’s Room Summer Reading Club hits full throttle starting June 7th and steams along until August 6th. Henry Cole is the featured illustrator this year. His exuberant cartoon style has graced such books as The Worrywarts, about a trio of timid adventurers; Bad Boys, a tale of wolves in disguise and Mooseltoea, a Christmas story about a moose who has to find a substitute Christmas tree.

All craft activities will have a water theme: Beneath the Sea; Drip, Drip, Drip; Pool Party; Pirate Treasure; By the Sea; Row, Row, Row Your Boat. Each arts & crafts program will be divided into two activities- one for younger children and one for older elementary-aged children. The annual pet show on July 10th in Diamond Park is cosponsored by Dad’s Products.

The summer program is open to children from toddlers to those leaving 6th grade. Incentives, activities and plenty to read will make the nine week program sail by quickly.

To participate, a child must be a member of one of Crawford County’s libraries. Preschoolers and summer visitors will receive a summer card. A special “water log” will be issued to record each reader’s and listener’s progress through summer reading pleasure and prizes.

For every library book read, children will get a stamp on their water log. Preschoolers must listen to two books to get a stamp. For every four stamps, a prize may be selected from the display case. When 12 stamps have been collected, participants qualify for two chances to win one of the Grand Prizes. A drawing for prizes will be held during our Summer Reading Club Party at 10 a.m. on August 6th.

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Spring is officially here and with it come thoughts of transformation and change as trees start to bud and flowers emerge from their long sleep. You may have noticed a few changes or transformations happening lately in the Fiction Department too.

Because so many authors are writing in multiple genres these days, it is sometimes difficult to know exactly where to find his or her books: this may mean searching two or three different sections in order to get all the books written by a particular author. We have eliminated this confusion by going back to a more traditional method of shelving which combines all genres together in alphabetical order by author and title. For instance, if an author writes detective and mystery as well as westerns, his or her books will now be shelved together in alphabetical order. We will continue to use the distinctive labeling system for each genre: with an SF on the label for a science fiction or fantasy book, a D for detective and mystery and a W for westerns.

The Young Adult area has also undergone some changes. A recent donation has enabled us to expand this section and add a table, chairs and a computer station. This new space will provide a great setting for all of our summer activities and allow us to offer additional young adult programming throughout the rest of the year. It will also provide a safe haven for teens to enjoy a good book, work on school or club projects and do homework with minimal disruption to other patrons in the library.
Check out all of our changes, grab a new book and join us for this year’s Summer Reading Program as we “Make Waves at Your Library.”

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