Running a public library, especially a library located in a historic structure that is pushing 90 years of age is always a challenge. Considering that in 1925 no one imagined that a library would someday have to have computers, wireless Internet access (Al Gore wasn’t even born yet!), LED lights, handicapped entrances, air conditioning, elevators, etc.
Needless to say, while the outside of the library is not that different from 1925, the inside is a vibrant modern library that has capabilities that could hardly be imagined during the ‘Roarin’ Twenties.’ Of course, this type of evolution does not happen by accident. It takes a dedicated and flexible staff, a board willing to try new services and programs, and a community willing to use the library in new ways.
Right now the Meadville Public Library is in the beginning phases of creating a new master plan. One of the first steps in that process is participating in a new initiative from the Public Library Association (PLA) called the Edge Initiative. Twenty libraries in Pennsylvania have been asked to participate in this new project. Basically, Edge measures how well a library is offering the latest in new technology services using benchmark techniques. In other words, you compare how your library stacks up with the top libraries in the U.S. And though we are very honoured to be selected for this project, we also know that we cannot afford to offer both traditional library services and new innovative programs without cutting back somewhere.
Another step in the planning process is asking you, the public, for feedback on what you want to see in your Public Library in the future. Do you want a public library that offers the latest technology but fewer materials? Or a library that has the latest materials but does not have the latest electronic services? Or do we prioritize the electronics services and balance that with selective cuts in traditional library programs? I imagine that everyone has a different opinion on this topic. In order to get as much information as possible we will be asking our patrons to express opinions on these important issues. Sometime this fall we will be releasing a questionnaire concerning our current and proposed library services. There will be both electronic and paper-based questionnaires (we are trying to get an honest opinion here.) At that time we will also allow public comment on what we may be able to offer the public in the future.
Our old library has faced many challenges over the past 90 years. The next ten years will in all likelihood see more changes than in the past 90 years put together. When we release the survey this fall, please take a few moments and tell us how you feel the Meadville Public Library should proceed going into the future.
While navigating the Internet, I happened upon an article about a library in Texas that, when it opens in the Fall of 2013, will have no books. Well, it will have books but only in digital format. Patrons will be able to download books onto their own e-readers or borrow one from the library. And while the Meadville Public Library may never go completely digital, like the Bexar County BiblioTech Library we will continue to change in order to meet the needs of our patrons. Even as the library continues to purchase hard and soft cover books, we will find other ways to provide access to information. Though record albums and music cassettes have been eliminated, MP3 audio books, online databases, and e-books have been added.
As most of you know, when new formats (e-books for example) are introduced, there is usually a need for education about and assistance in the use of these items. The Meadville Public Library will continue to offer free e-reader classes for those patrons who need help with their Kindle, Nook, or other e-reader device. Lacey has also informed me that the library will once again offer computer classes, at no charge, beginning this summer. Check our website at meadvillelibrary.org or call the library for further information.
And now an update on the weeding process that was begun last year. The non-fiction collection has been weeded through the 700′s and Jeanne is in the process of evaluating the reference collection. Once she has completed that task, we will look at the 800′s and 900′s. I hope to shift those books to make more room for the large print collection which is outgrowing its area.
Finally, I wish to thank all of our patrons who have donated books and DVDs to the library. Library budgets continue to suffer from political wrangling and because of your generosity, items that could not be purchased now sit on the shelves just waiting for someone to discover them.
The Young Adult Writer’s Forum (http://ya.meadvillelibrary.org/forum) was set up as a place for teens to share their writing with other teens. You have to register to be able to enter all the sub-forums, but once you do you can participate in weekly writing prompts, read other teens’ stories, poems or skits and share your own. If you’re available on Wednesdays from 4 to 5 p.m., you can join other teens at the library or any time online. Questions? Talk to Jeanne at the Main Desk (336-1773 ext. 303) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the weather finally turning nice, it’s hard to think about sitting down to read a good book, but as summer approaches, finding things to do to entertain the kids can be difficult. Consider coming to the library for a good book or bringing the kids to one of our young adult summer activities.
This year, the young adult theme is “Beneath the Surface” and we will be exploring land and water through various crafts. We will also have some great prizes to give away to everyone checking out fiction or young adult reading material. Entries can be made, at the Fiction Desk, from June 3rd through August 1st. We hope you can join us this summer as we discover things “Beneath the Surface”!
“Dig into Reading!” this summer’s theme will send readers underground to discover all sorts of things – dinosaurs, buried treasure, burrowing animals, ancient cultures, gardens, caves, rocks and more. This year’s Children’s Summer Reading club runs from now through August 2.
Artwork for this year was created by Scott Nash whose fans will remember his illustrations for “Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp,” “Betsy, Who Cried Wolf,” “Oh, Tucker” and the new chapter books with Flat Stanley.
The summer program is open to children from toddlers to those leaving sixth grade. Incentives and activities will provide fun the whole family can “dig.” Craft activities will include flowers from plastic bottles, a night-time diorama of a bat cave, pop-up puppets and more. Each arts and crafts program is divided into two activities – one for younger children and one for older elementary school-aged children. Our annual pet show will be held July 6 in the library’s side yard.
To participate, a child must be a member of one of Crawford County’s libraries. Preschoolers and summer visitors receive a summer card. A special reading garden patch is issued to record each reader’s and listener’s progress through summer reading pleasure and prizes. For every library book read, children receive a stamp on their garden patch. 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. The drawing for these prizes will be held during our Summer Reading Club Party, scheduled August 3 at 10 a.m. Let’s go digging!