Archive for the “Uncategorized” Category

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.

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This summer’s theme, “Dream Big, READ!,” will explore all things nocturnal – the nighttime sky and its constellations, dreamers, and nocturnal animals. This year’s Children’s Summer Reading Club begins June 4th and lasts until August 3rd.
Artwork for this year was created by Brian Lies. His fans will remember his bat books; “Bats at the Beach,” “Bats at the Library,” and “Bats at the Ballgame.” He has also illustrated other authors’ books including the Flatfoot Fox books and Finklehopper Frog.
The summer program is open to children from toddlers to those leaving sixth grade. Incentives and activities will make this an inspiring nine weeks for the whole family.
All craft activities will have a nighttime flair. Each arts & crafts program will be divided into two activities – one for younger children and one for older elementary-aged children.
Special programs include the annual pet show on July 7th and a visit with owls and other birds from Tamarack Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center on July 24th.
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 reading sky chart 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 sky chart. 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 during our Summer Reading Club Party scheduled at 10 a.m., August 4th.

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I have been thinking a lot lately about industries that were swept away by the horseless carriage 100 years ago.

In 1900 there were many companies that made buggy whips and corsets (one of them, Spirella Corsets, was located here in Meadville.) Both industries were eventually wiped out when the automobile was introduced and became popular in the early 1900′s. Women who had to start a car themselves couldn’t bend over to crank the car’s starter if they were wearing a corset. And as for buggy whips well, no need for one of those when you had an accelerator on your horseless carriage.

Technology has advanced to the point where most individuals have access to a computer from which to receive information or download books; those with a personal computer can do this anywhere there is cell phone access. A description of this technology just 20 years ago would have seemed like magic.

So how are our libraries going to cope with virtual books as demand for the old-fashioned book slowly declines? A very good question and one we have been contemplating for months. We know that certain members of our community would love to have down-loadable books accessible to their electronic reading devices. Unfortunately, publishers and copyright authors are not making it easy for libraries to retrieve their electronic materials. In addition, funding is a real obstacle for the public library since purchasing electronic books means having to cut back on purchases of traditional materials.

So although introducing electronic media in libraries is difficult and a challenge in libraries today, MPL has been making some progress in this area with the introduction of Playaway books in the Children’s Department. The audio books allow the user to listen to a complete book through ear buds or even a sound system.

In addition, we have linked our on-line Patron Catalog to the more than 10,000 books of the Guttenberg Project. By going to our web site and searching for a title published before 1927, you can follow the link and download both electronic books and/or versions of the book. In the next few months we’ll install new software that will allow our patrons to access more than 5,000 electronic books made available through the Pennsylvania Power Library Project. Most of these books are older titles (1960-1990) dealing with non-fiction topics.

Finally, we are hoping to introduce more popular and newer books electronically by the end of this year or the beginning of 2012. Though we have yet to select a provider, our specifications require a supplier who will provide us with materials in all popular formats including E-Pub and PDF. Though our plans are not yet complete, we are committed to making sure that Meadville Public Library does not become an anachronism. I have a picture of a horseless carriage on my desktop that reminds me of just that every day.

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Spring in Pennsylvania means different things to each of us. For some it is sunshine (on occasion), for others, warm weather, rain or flowers. For Meadville Public Library it is the anticipation of another decrease in funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The reduction in the library subsidy will affect the library’s budgets, but until the final proposal is passed, the impact will not be known. Our patrons have shown overwhelming support for the library through the years and I am sure it will continue during these unsettled times.

On a more positive note, with spring comes the preparation of flower and vegetable gardens. I will not mention specific titles but suffice to say we have added new books on both topics. Remember that new books (those purchased within the past six months) are just inside the doors under the windows and across from the main desk.

We have added many new movies to the DVD collection, including the following: Black Swan, Chasing 3000, Downton Abbey, Echo an Elephant to Remember, Get Low, Howl’s Moving Castle, Nowhere Boy, Pillars of the Earth, Secretariat, The Social Network, and Waiting for Superman.

These and many more are available at the main desk. Please remember that an adult library card is necessary to check out DVDs and videos. Hope to see you @the Library.

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Spring is finally here and with it many activities at the library. We started with a “Civil War Day” held in fulfillment of a grant we received last year from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. Patrons who attended the program were treated to a visit with local re-enactors of the 150th PVI Bucktails group. The women of the group gave a Civil War era fashion show and played dulcimer music throughout the morning. A presentation by Dr. Barratt, an historian with the Crawford County Civil War Roundtable, and Civil War era games for kids in the Children’s room were also part of the festivities.

The grant given to the library includes 20 books and a set of DVDs on the Civil War. If you’d like to learn more about the Civil War, these items and many others can be found throughout the library.

May brought a book signing by the young author, Brenna Thummler. Her book entitled, From Alligators to Zippers, was written and illustrated as part of her Senior Project and uses each letter of the alphabet to give a brief history and tour of Meadville and the surrounding area. Her book is available for checkout and can be found in the Young Adult section of the library.

June 6th starts our Summer Reading Program with games and activities planned for young adults and prizes for all. This year’s young adult theme, “You Are Here,” will have us touring the world with weekly crafts and activities from many different countries. For more information stop by the Fiction desk and pick up a bookmark listing the summer activities. We hope everyone will join us for another exciting summer as we explore the world

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This summer’s theme, “One World, Many Stories,” will allow children to sample the cultures and stories of the whole world. The 2011 Children’s Summer Reading Club begins June 6th and ends August 5th. Rafael Lopez is the creator of this year’s art work.

The summer program is open to children from toddlers to those leaving 6th grade. Incentives and activities will make this an inspiring nine weeks for the whole family.

All craft activities will have an international flair. 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 will be held July 9th at 10 a.m. in Diamond Park. Co-sponsor of the pet show is Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, the Home of Dad’s Pet Care.

To participate in the reading club, a child must be a member of one of Crawford County’s libraries. Preschoolers and summer visitors will receive a summer card along with a special reading passport to record each reader’s and listener’s progress throughout the summer.

For every library book read, children will get a stamp on their passport. 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. As long as children continue to read or listen, they can qualify for more chances to win Grand Prizes. The drawing for these prizes will be during our Summer Reading Club Party beginning at 10 a.m. on August 5th.

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