By Louise Greene, ARSL Board Member and Secretary
In Geneseo, Illinois (pop. 6,580), library staff have a service ethic that gives patrons the white glove treatment from beginning to end. How? Claire K. Crawford, Library Director, says “We get out of our desks and walk with the patron and show them where the information is. We offer to order their books for them and help them with inter-library loan. We feel that our patrons are our friends and deserve the best customer service available.” In addition, the library delivers books to the nursing homes, assisted living centers, and encourages patrons to sign up for “talking books” to be delivered directly to their homes at no cost to them. Patrons just apply a return label and the “talking books” are sent back to headquarters.
If a library reaps what it sows, then a high level of personal service has paid off in a big way for the Geneseo Public Library District. The community has supported a brand new building for the library without raising taxes. It took 17 years to arrive at a new building but it was worth it. The library is now the most energy efficient building in Geneseo. Very progressive for a town often described as “just like Mayberry”!
Within the new building, the cornerstone of the community, patrons receive wonderful programs and the benefit of a staff that is tuned into innovation, new ideas and experiences. Take a virtual tour of this beauty at http://geneseo.lib.il.us and click on the Photo Galleries. You may just get some new ideas of your own.
Geneseo PLD is an Institutional Member of ARSL.
By Tameca Beckett, Youth Services Librarian (Laurel Public Library, DE)
According to the Webster’s Dictionary, mess is defined as “an disordered, untidy, offensive, or unpleasant state or condition.” At the Laurel Public Library, we think MESS is a good thing! While summer reading brings its fair share of messes, we had something a little different in mind. This summer, we “Get Your M.E.S.S. On!”, an interactive STEM program that encourages creation, independence, problem solving and critical thinking through M.E.S.S. – Math, Engineering, Science and Social Learning.
Through six 1-hour sessions, kids and teens came together for a little STEMtastic fun! This program was created for children, ages 8-12 years. Additionally, teen summer volunteers served as program mentors. The teen volunteers met prior to the start of the program to establish a clear understanding of the program and session goals. The teens were given an opportunity to complete the projects prior to the children’s arrival. This allowed the teens to actively participate in the program (and learning goals) while familiarizing themselves with the project for each session. Little to no instructions was given for each project. The children were encouraged to question, try, iterate, and explore all possibilities. Materials were made available in a central location for children to access. And the great thing about this program…it didn’t break the bank! Most of the materials were easy to collect (paper towel rolls) or inexpensive to buy (popsicle sticks from the local dollar store).
The results were clear. Kids loved M.E.S.S.!! Each session was filled to maximum (and sometimes over) capacity. They loved the opportunity to think independently and critically about their desired outcome. The kids thrived in an open-ended, collaborative environment that encouraged opportunities to iterate (what might be called failure) throughout the process. All participants were actively engaged and social throughout the program, readily sharing ideas and strategies with their peers. No projects were exactly the same.
I’m looking forward to revamping this program for next year’s summer reading programs, “Fizz, Boom, Read!” and “Spark a Reaction!” Hmmm…now what can we make go BOOM!
By Sheila Urwiler, Director, Starke County Public Library System, Knox, Indiana
Patrons were invited to a Cupcake Challenge as part of our National Library Week celebration. They had to register, and bring 3 dozen cupcakes. We originally were going to require that the cupcakes be made from scratch, but then decided that was unnecessary – we were more concerned about the decoration than the actual cupcakes. We did not specify whether professional bakers could enter or not; that might be something to address in the future. We did have a sign-up sheet, which waived library liability. We also asked participants to indicate if they used nuts in their recipe.
It was very easy to find our “celebrity” judges – we called around to local restaurants and the radio station, and everyone we called was happy to participate. And by including the radio station, they helped with publicity.
We had people bring in their cupcakes and set up their displays from 9:30-10 am and then did the judging from 10-10:30 am. Cupcakes were judged on a scale of 1-10, on appearance, flavor, and “celebratory spirit.” While the judges tasted, we supplied them with water to drink, to help “clear the palate.” It required 5 staff members to run – one to prepare plates, two to pass them out and clear them away as the judges finished and also refill water, one to tabulate the votes, and one to take pictures. Once the judges had finished, we tabulated the results, announced the winners and let the audience try the submissions. Because there were so many attendees, we had to cut cupcakes in half!
For more pictures of the cupcake challenge – http://www.flickr.com/photos/
Originally published in the North Central Newsletter, by Trisha Hicks, Iowa Library Services-North Central, Algona, Iowa
The Burt Public Library celebrated the grand opening of their Village Post Office on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. The library is able to sell stamps, prepaid boxes, and accept small boxes for shipment. The main post office in Burt now closes at 11:30 am every weekday, so the afternoon hours with the library serving as the VPO, give the public more opportunity to purchase/mail items. There were 82 people who attended the grand opening and wished the library well in its newest endeavor to meet the needs of the Burt community.
Director Trisha Hicks, Assistant Librarian Sonya Harsha, and Substitute Sue Chihak at the VPO Grand Opening
USPS staff visiting at Burt, the first library in Iowa to become a Village Post Office
In August 2012, Uintah County, Utah opened a new 32,000 square foot replacement library.
The original 9,000 square foot facility built in the 1950s, added onto in the 70′s and again in the 90′s, was bursting at the seams with collections (130,000 items) and visitors (gate count of nearly 500,000). Despite the challenge of an inadequate facility we had always been a very successful library in programming, events, and training offered to the public. We also had lot of friends in our community.
Our staff members had never let our inadequate space limit our efforts. We held activities outside in an adjacent park. We held activities in partnership with other entities such as the recreation district and the local health district. We did a “books on the go” program that delivered books to meals-on-wheels clients—with no added cost to the library. We had a thriving Regional History Center housing many thousands of historical documents, photographs, and books which rivaled special collections at many of Utah’s universities–all crammed into 500 square feet.
Turning the Page
Call it serendipity or destiny that the Gates Foundation and the Public Library Association sponsored the Turning the Page advocacy training in nearby Salt Lake. On that same day, in the same hotel, there was an oil and gas convention that Uintah County Commissioners were attending. I greeted the surprised Commissioner Darlene Burns, who had oversight of the library, and explained why I was there. She was interested in libraries and wanted to sit in to hear Kevin Carroll speak about the Lessons of the Red Rubber Ball. Just then state librarian Donna Morris informed me she had just lost her “elected official” lunchtime speaker. I introduced Commissioner Burns to the State Librarian.
Half an hour later, Commissioner Burns spoke about how elected officials value libraries and how library priorities are weighted against other entities. She mentioned how she appreciates when the library can offer solutions to broader issues and problems. She then publicly announced in front of the crowd of librarians that Uintah County would shortly build a new building! Had it not been for the support of PLA and the Gates Foundation, in their role of facilitating discussion, I can only speculate about how far down the road a new library would still be.
Funding a New Library
Uintah County, Utah, is an oil and natural gas producing county. Over 70% of the land in the county is federally owned. A portion of the revenue the government receives from leasing and drilling fees is deposited with a state board who is charged with funding projects in communities that are impacted by oil and gas development. Impacted, like when 4,000 workers suddenly show up and all want housing and services at the same time. The board had recently funded a portion of the county’s new jail, a children’s justice center, and a recreation center. They however were dead set against funding libraries.
The Community Resource Center
Knowing the Permanent Community Impact Fund Board’s aversion to funding libraries, our team looked at the individual components of what the library does and stripped away library terminology. This we replaced with generic descriptive terminology. Storytime became the “Early Childhood Resource Program.” The computers were “public informational resources.” Our collection of health books were the “Health Information Resource Center.” Our “Parenting with Love and Logic “classes got to keep their name…. After coming up with the list of services and other resources, we settled on the umbrella of “Community Resource Center.” We took the new name and shared it with elected officials and other influential individuals and groups with whom we already had existing good relationships. Then the library approached the board asking for a combination of grant and low interest loan funding to build a new community resource center. After the longest and most memorable morning of my career, the board accepted our proposal and issued a $5 million dollar grant and a $3 million dollar low interest loan. Our team left the meeting and I’m pretty sure the whole hotel could hear our celebration!
The design and building process
I’ve worn glasses as long as I can remember. Each time I go to the eye doctor, he says “which one is better, one or two, a -or –b…” until the perfect lens is found. To me working with architects and design is much like this process. We started with a list of words that are now etched in the block on the exterior of our new building. These words became an adjacency plan, then architectural drawings, and then they seemingly magically transformed into a growing structure , and a completed building.
We are so pleased with our new library. We’ve nearly doubled our daily traffic counts. We’ve added 5,000 new patrons bringing the total to 31,833. We didn’t add a lot of new materials or grow the collection to a large extent. We added more computers. For us the new building is about having people space, a community living room, study rooms, adequate office space. We use RFID sorting and self-check machines which allow us to spread out our employees into the public spaces more.
Just this week we had a “glitz and glamor” day for all of the little princesses in the area. We had close to 500 people show up. Each of our activities draws close to that number. We have organizational growing pains now. We need to add a bit more hierarchy and grow the organization’s structure. We need to spend more time planning out logistics. We thought that 80 parking stalls and room for 150 people in the library’s main meeting room would be plenty. The truth is that in our community, any room we could have built would be too small at some point.
As library director, I also have responsibility for the Regional History Center. In the process of moving, we were able to remodel a portion of an existing county facility and now have a 4,000 square foot history center with proper archival storage, processing lab, and public research spaces. Just a few weeks ago the county’s administration placed the museum within the library department. Currently our team is designing the museum to fit in the old library.
My message to other librarians is that you can do it! You can be a problem solver. Each time you bring up an issue with your board or manager, also propose a solution. Try new things. Fail forward. Invite yourself to meetings of civic clubs such as Rotary, Elks, and Lions clubs. Dive into the Project Compass resources for supporting local workforce development. Attend open governmental meetings occasionally. Bring new ideas. Convene people. Be a political matchmaker. Don’t be afraid. If all of the focus seems to be on some other non-library issue, figure out how you can help. Get to that table. Call on resources around you. Cities, counties, and state agencies may be able to help. If you want help, be prepared to offer your help. Don’t assume; Ask. If you know what to do and no one asks you, speak up.
You can make great things happen in your communities! Make your readers feel special. Over-deliver on your services. Have fun!
Sam Passey, Director
Uintah County Library System
North Liberty, Iowa
1987 population 1800
2013 population 15,000.
No, that is not a typo-in 25 years the population of North Liberty increased over 800%!
Now, imagine you are the library director of this small, Iowa town. How do you prepare for that kind of growth? Over the course of their careers, library directors may get one chance to build a new library. Dee Crowner, director of the North Liberty Community Library planned and built a new library in 1997. She is currently in the construction phase of building her second, new library. But before the second one is completed this year, she is already anticipating the next phase. However, Dee says “I’m going to retire before phase three!”
The city of North Liberty is positioned along the “golden corridor,” just a few miles from two major interstates, connecting several population centers. North Liberty has a small town feel, but is minutes away from major cities. Many residents tell city administrators that they chose the city for the schools and the Community Center.
In 1987 when Dee became the director, the library occupied 1400 square feet in a joint city hall/fire station/community room/public library building. They doubled their staff, going from two to four employees, when they opened a new 6,500 square foot building in 1997, which they outgrew in less than 10 years. Today, they have a staff of 11 and are looking at moving into an 18,000 square foot building next summer. A consultant has suggested they should be considering a 30,000 square foot building in order to be ready for the next phase.
This library is always looking toward the future, the next phase. In anticipation of moving into a new building, Dee and her staff started making plans early. Several years ago, they started the process of “decimating Dewey.” They investigated ways to make their collections more user-friendly and have seen great results since switching to subject based classification last fall. They also decided to integrate their genre collections into one single alphabet in adult fiction. Also, in preparation for the move, they looked at the declining circulation of their music collection and slowly phased it out. As print reference showed signs of disuse, they put more money into databases and did away with much of that collection. All of these changes were made so they could move into a new building with a “clean” collection.
Another step in anticipation of their move, was going with a “one community, one card” idea. The current library is housed in the same community building, which houses the rec center, the aquatic center, a 600 seat Conference Center and telecommunications facility. The library has never required patrons to bring a library card, they have been using a picture on the screen of their ILS. However, they will now be placing barcodes on the back of the rec center card, making it much easier for citizens to use the entire building.
Fundraising was another major part of the preparation for growing the library. They hired the same professional fundraiser to do a feasibility study and help win grants as had been used with the original building and expansion of the rec center. The staff did a lot of the legwork and worked with the community to raise more than 1.7 million dollars in less than one year. The city contributed two million to the effort, a testament to the hard work the library put into building relationships with the city. The City Administrator was responsible for helping the library raise over $200,000 in private funds as well. He was tireless in making connections with business people and even helped film a commercial for the fund-raising committee with another city employee and their Harley motorcyles!
Like many of you, they shifted things around, moved furniture, lost meeting room space and combined staff space. Dee says, “Don’t be afraid to try new things and experiment.” Their new building will have no hard wired computers for adults, they have switched to all laptops. Rolling laptop tables can be moved for patrons to use wherever they are comfortable. It will also have a “cake pan gallery” and a DVD room. The library will be going green as much as they can afford. They are going to recycle the gym floor into tables and chairs, they will be re-using furniture and retrofitting shelving and are using recycled materials for flooring.
The library has always used volunteers and that is one reason they have been able to expand as quickly as they have. Last year they had over 6,000 volunteer hours. That is the equivalent of over three FTEs. According to Dee, “our volunteers are not here to dust and sweep. They are here to supplement our staff. We find out what they are good at and let them do it.”
Anticipation, preparation and vision has helped this library plan for the future. This growing community supports and encourages their growing library. Doesn’t it make you wonder, what the next 25 years will bring?
My name is Nola Ramirez and I am the branch manager of the Gustine Branch Library in Gustine CA. We are located in the heart of agriculture on the westside of the central valley. City’s population is 5,000. The Gustine Branch Library is small, only a little over 12,000 square feet, and contains 12,542 items and circulated over 8,000 items last year. On March 22, 2013 I will have been running the busy regional branch all by myself for 21 years.
I joined ARSL 5 years ago when I was invited to go to the Conference in Sacramento and felt immediately at home with everyone. Here were people that understood what I was going through and felt. The California State Library has awarded me scholarships for all 5 conferences I have attended.
Being on the listserv has opened up many opportunities for me and the Gustine Community! Recently I received a box of 34 books on CD from TEI Landmark Audio. They were completely free and doubled the number of books on CD that were on my shelves! I was able to order 9 art books from DUC (disadvantaged underserved communities). These books were free also to the Gustine Library. Gustine Library is 1 of 20 pilot libraries for Pushing the Limits. I just found out last week that I am one of the qualifying libraries for the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf. All of the above happened because I am a member of ARSL and on the listserv. Being a part of this wonderful organization has truly opened the world to me and my patrons with opportunities, ideas and friendship with others who understand what rural libraries are really about.
Twice a month on Friday nights in Huachuca City the place to be is at the Public Library’s Karaoke Night. The fun gets started at 6:30 p.m. and is part of the library’s “after hours” programming. “This is a happening place” states one patron as he fills out his song requests. The music is loud and the laughter even louder. You will find moms, dads, kids, grandparents and even the mayor of Huachuca city in the library during karaoke night. There is lemon-aide and ice tea aplenty along with cookies to munch on and the best thing of all….. no cover charge!
With what started as a way to get more library attendance from the teens in the area has turned into a well attended family event and one that is looked forward to every other Friday. The idea for karaoke came from the teen council at the library and the equipment and music was purchased through a grant awarded from the Cochise County Community Foundation.
Community members can come and “let their hair down” with their kids and have a ball. It doesn’t matter if you can sing or not. Everyone takes a turn at the mike and everyone gets applauded and cheered when they are done. The mayor of Huachuca City himself is the D.J. and loves to participate and volunteer to run the program. He loves karaoke and has a great voice and is really good at getting people to become involved and let go of their shyness and sing.
The Friends of the Library have also become involved and help sponsor the program by providing the funds to purchase additional music as well as an AV cart which the equipment sits on. This program has expanded and grown since its conception in early 2012. It’s not unusual to find 30 people or more in the library on karaoke nights.
This program fits in so very well with one of the key missions of the library which is “Building Community”. Strong families build strong communities and the library will continue to hold programs such as karaoke night so we can continue to build community.
So….. If you’re not doing anything next Friday night, come on down to the Huachuca City Public Library and join us. Just follow the music and the laughter and you will know you’re in the right place!
Director of Library Services
Huachuca City Public Library
People were running out of the local library, screaming and crying; they were also smiling, laughing, and happy they came. They were exiting a hometown haunted house that was nine months in the making. The event was produced in Oneonta, a city in central Alabama about 40 miles northeast of Birmingham, with a population of about 7,200.
It all started incidentally, when downtown businesses could not coordinate their 2011 Halloween activities to include the ‘Haunted Alley’. The city building inspector had been a key participant in the event the previous year and was innocently bemoaning this state of affairs. His hobby involves just about anything Halloween, including working at serious haunted houses and attending horror conventions. Conversations meandered through discussions of community events and library programs and, the next thing we knew, he had a library layout in hand and we were planning ‘Terror in the Stacks’, the first annual haunting of Oneonta Public Library.
Over the next nine months, the theme, scenes, layout, pathways, cast, and funding were planned for this event. This was a SERIOUS haunted library. On October 26th the library closed and the work began. Tables, chairs, book bins, kid’s computers, and all other things that could be moved, easily, were.Five volunteers – great guys who all really love this stuff – built false walls to create a maze by covering bookshelves with black plastic sheeting.
They put up black lights and unpacked the creepiest props.
The next day on the 27th, the library remained closed while the interior decorators of this house of horror brought about their vision, indoors and out. Hanging ghosts glowed in dark spider webs, a zombie baby sat eerily on a tricycle, creepy headless dolls were alone in rocking chairs.
For a while, we were not sure if the indoor space could be finished on time. But these men and women were amazing – all because they love the concept and scaring the heebie-jeebies out of people. Music and sound effects were staged and live characters were positioned.
While the indoor event was staged for adults, the outdoor space was set up for younger trick-or-treaters. There were games and story times. Even those who did not win at games received treats and prizes. A ‘trunk-or-treat’ was positioned in the parking lot, with lines of car trunks loaded with the traditional Halloween goodies. So many people volunteered that all could not be utilized indoors. Many worked outside, staffing games and trunks.
We had no idea what turnout would be. By 5:45 p.m., the line for the ‘Terror in the Stacks’ was almost to the road… and we have a large parking lot! Approximately 180 people screamed, cried, and laughed their way through the haunted library. Another 150 or so participated in the outdoor children’s events. Many adults who staffed the trunks said this event was the most fun they had ever had for Halloween and have already asked to return.
Will we do it again next year? Was it worth the effort? You bet! Bigger and better and scarier than ever! Their excitement makes it all worthwhile. Sometimes you have to think outside the box and try something new.
“Show me your library card” were the words that rang out during September, National Library Card Signup Month, in the small town of Hawarden, Iowa. While brainstorming for ways to encourage people to sign up for library cards, the librarians hit on the idea of traveling through town during noon hour on each Monday in September. Individuals were asked to show the librarian their library card. If they could come up with the card, they received five dollars in Hawarden Chamber cash! It was a win-win project for everyone involved.
The promotion was placed on the Hawarden Public Library’s Facebook page, put in the local paper, and placed as an announcement on the local cable station. The first Monday of the promotion, the librarian stopped by a local pizza restaurant and the grocery store. Sauntering up to a table of farmers, she asked if they could show her their library cards. Of the four at the table, one fellow, Carlos, was able to present his card. On the spot, he was handed his five dollars of scrip. It was interesting to see others at other tables scrambling through their purses and pockets to come up with cards! What fun! Everyone was smiling and laughing and thinking LIBRARY! Pictures were taken on the spot to place on the library’s Facebook page.
Our grocery story adventure was even more fun! We made an announcement in the store that the first individual to bring the librarian a library card received the scrip. Shoppers stopped their carts and rummaged through purses; several clerks left their spots to find their cards. By the end of the visit, another person had five dollars.
The next week found us visiting the banks! What better place to give away money! This time, the tellers were ready for us! They had their cards near them, in case the library “cash patrol” came through the doors. Librarians also visited several businesses and someone was always able to come up with the library card. The biggest rush to find a card occurred when we stopped by our city offices. The office staff was ready. They had their cards right by their desks!
The promotion definitely had people thinking library and library cards. It added a bit of humor to everyone’s day as well as linking us to our chamber by giving away Hawarden scrip that could only be used in our Hawarden stores.
Our Hawarden Public Library is located in northwest Iowa. We invite you to stop by and visit us in person or on the web or on Facebook! Our community consists of about 2500 people in an agricultural based economy. We like to think that our library offers our community everything they need to meet their lifelong learning needs!
Ione Branch of Amador County Library, California
[This article, written by Kati Corsaut, was first published in the Friends of the Amador County Library Newsletter]
Take one old, down-at-the-heels building housing a much-used branch library, four dedicated community groups, a local philanthropist, and dedicated public officials; mix in generous vendors and contractors who donated labor and materials; spend two months and $16,000 working 24/7 to demolish and rebuild, and what do you get? A brand new Ione branch library that will continue to serve the town and surrounding community for years to come.
In just two short months between May 5, when demolition began, until July 9 when the branch reopened, Ione’sdedicated volunteers rebuilt the library from the floor boards to the ceiling. Donnell Junes, branch library assistant and her daughters Gabrielle and Brittania, and others stepped up to decorate the space in inviting colors, comfortable seating areas that invite patrons to sit down and browse, and an enticing children’s section.
With the City’s cooperation and their building inspector’s oversight, 14 workers from Ione’s service clubs volunteered over 1,250 hours completing the Library facelift. Short Circuit Electric provided all of the labor and most of the materials to completely rewire the facility, upgrading the service panel and adding a local area network for the computers.
The community gathered July 19 to watch Mayor Ron Smylie, County Supervisor Richard Forester (who made this remodel one of his priorities) and County Librarian Laura Einstadter cut the ribbon to the new space.
Thanks to the Ione Rotary, Native Sons of the Golden West Parlor 33, Friends of the Amador County Library, and many others who made this possible.
The Ione branch is open Monday (10-1), Tuesday (2-7), Wed (10-1), Thursday (1-5) and Friday 1-4.
When you think of library programming, you think of book clubs, summer reading programs, and story times, right? This summer, the Estherville Public Library in north-central Iowa took on something a little different: a 5k training program.
With the impending conclusion of the statewide Live Healthy Iowa challenge last spring, library leaders including director Tena Hanson (ARSL Membership Development Chair and Board Member) started thinking about ways to initiate programming that would help fill the gap for the community during the summer months. Having only worked at this particular library six months, Hanson sought advice from the local Chamber director. Several ideas were bounced around, and the one that seemed most feasible was a Couch-to-5k program.
Think about it: most of our loyal library members are avid readers (we are familiar with the couch part of this equation). Avid readers, by and large, are not adverse to exercise; we just might not know how to go about getting started. To Hanson (who had never expected to become a runner, herself), this seemed to be a friendly way to start from the ground up and make people comfortable tackling the challenge of a 5k.
The scheduling was easy. The C25K program (an established workout routine openly available at www.coolrunning.com) was 9 weeks long. The goal would be the Run for the Cob 5k, an annual race held during the city’s Sweet Corn Days celebration in early August. Counting back 9 weeks, a date was set in early June for the first meeting. Meetings were scheduled each of those 9 weeks on Mondays, some in the afternoon and some in the evening, to allow for those with other commitments to attend at least some of the check-in sessions.
Community leaders in health and fitness fields were eager to help, and quickly filled all 9 weeks of check-in sessions with excellent topics. The local hospital dietitian talked about nutrient-dense meals, goal-setting, planning your daily calories to coincide with your exercise routine and much more. A local chiropractor talked to the group about stretching and injury prevention. The coaches of both the High School and Community College cross country teams came to talk about cross-training, warm-ups and cool-downs, pacing and mile splits, and what to expect at a 5k race.
A staff person at the local extension office offered to lead a group run/walk following each weekly session, which became a fun bonding experience for those who took part. One evening, while the group (comprised of ages 13 through retirement) was out running, a man doing yard work called out “you’ve got the whole family out for a run?!” It was fun to call back “No, we’re from the library!” and watch him nod and then look confused.
Community support for this program was so strong that the group was asked to act as Torch Runners for the Sweet Corn Days opening ceremonies, which is something of an honor. Four groups run, each taking their starting point as one of the city gateway signs, to the riverside park for the lighting of the cob celebration.
A handful of C25K participants gathered that evening at the south entrance to the city and ran, carrying a flaming corn torch, to the park. It was a glorious thing to behold, and the group had a good chuckle over the fact that they beat the softball girls and the triathlon representative to the finish point!
On race day, our fastest runner was awarded an iPod Shuffle, courtesy of the Friends of the Library. All of our participants made great strides, and as one put it: “Thanks for getting this team going! It is something I never thought I’d do.”
My name is Leslie Langley and I am the branch manager of Wister Public Library, the smallest branch in the Southeastern Public Library System of Oklahoma. SEPLS is a multi-county library system with 15 branches in 7 counties of southeastern part of the state. Wister Library is a two-employee library currently housed in the municipal building, a WPA native rock building. We are in a 1250 square foot end of the building and we have approximately 15,000 items in our collection. We are open Tuesday through Saturday for a total of 37 hours per week. Wister is a tiny town with a population of 1,025 but my service area is large and we serve about 3000 people. The school is the largest employer but there are 2 cattle auctions that draw hundreds of people here each Saturday.
It has always been my goal to be as involved in our community as possible. I believe that none of us are as strong nor as smart as all of us and that small public libraries can play a large role in the lives of our customers and citizens. Wister Library is the business center and ‘visiting’ place in our town. The coffee is always on and we’ve watched strong friendships and business alliances form over the years because of this service. And because I am active in my community I am also active in professional organizations. Being a career-long member of the Oklahoma Library Association led me, eventually, to the recent position as president of OLA. It was immediately after my presidential year that I first learned of the Association for Rural and Small Libraries. Wow! An entire association just for libraries like mine! I immediately joined and learned all I could about ARSL and it’s amazing. I attended the 2011 conference in Frisco, TX and the rest is history. ARSL is an exciting association and every librarian in a rural or small-library setting is doing themselves a great professional disservice if they aren’t members. I also found that once I became a member, it’s so easy to be active. I volunteered my services and was asked to join the Membership Development Committee. The work is important and easy and reaching other rural librarians in the process and getting the word out that there’s a very professional place just for us is an incredible experience.
By Diana Weaver
There can be no argument that in the last 25 years, libraries have been forever changed by technology. Librarians in Kansas, Nebraska, and beyond have had the good fortune to be led through this time of change by Cindi Hickey, who will retire from the State Library of Kansas on April 13.
Cindi came to libraries as a second profession, graduating from the Emporia State University SLIM in 1993. Her professors there freely admit that her technological knowledge and skill was often ahead of her instructors. Even before she was out of graduate school, Cindi began working with the Nebraska Library Commission and other state agencies to promote the Internet as a key tool for small rural communities. Cindi fearlessly traversed the state during her tenure, running phone lines across main streets, hooking up laptops to a hub and dialing an 800 number back in Lincoln to demonstrate the power of online resources.
Throughout her career, Cindi found astonishing ways to harness the power of the Internet to help librarians serve their communities. She helped former SLIM Dean Marty Hale and Patti (Butcher) Poe translate the library planning process “Pathways to Planning” to the web. She was, as Poe says, the “wizard behind the curtain” for numerous continuing education projects in Kansas, including ICE (Institute for Continuous Education), K-PLACE, and 23 Things Kansas. Many librarians in Kansas consider 23 Things Kansas a highlight of their careers, and immeasurably helpful in their daily work. “Who else but Cindi,” says 23 Things Kansas participant Cathy Newland, “could get 600 Kansas librarians together? And for four months!”
Cindi has also presented nearly every year at the Kansas library conference, always targeting her efforts at practical, useful and needed continuing education. But her teaching and sharing has extended way beyond Kansas with presentations at several national venues, including numerous Computers in Libraries conferences. She was named a Library Journal “Mover and Shaker” in 2005 for being a “professional coach” to librarians and for her passion for making professional education easily available.
Cindi will be retiring from her most recent position as the WebJunction Coordinator and Director of Library Development at the State Library of Kansas. Her colleagues at WebJunction feel extremely fortunate to have teamed with Cindi and, while they acknowledge her tireless work on behalf of Kansas librarians, they appreciate her “equally valuable contributions to the field nationally.” To her WebJunction partners, she “epitomizes leading by example and brings a positive, upbeat quality to any collaboration or meeting – her sense of humor is always appreciated!” In 2010, Cindi was recognized as a WebJunction Shining Star, a peer award nominated by state library partners for her leadership and innovative approach to continuing education.
Cindi’s legacy will continue in the field long after her retirement this spring because of her generosity in mentoring other librarians. Younger colleagues in Kansas appreciate Cindi’s great willingness to discuss every facet of librarianship with them and to share her expert knowledge. She is a role model, according to Heather Braum of the Northeast Kansas Library System, “because of her dedication, passion, thoughtfulness and love of learning and discovery…She has truly demonstrated to us all the meaning of considerate leadership and lifelong learning.”
As many of us have experienced over the years, Cindi has a special grace and humility to answer any question gently and thoroughly, yet somehow managing to never make the questioner feel as ignorant as they probably are. Her leadership, goodwill and perseverance will be missed. Cindi looks forward to the next phase of her life, which she knows will be “both challenging and fun,” and will certainly include continued avid support of her beloved KU Jayhawk sports teams.
The Duchesne Library
The area in Northeastern Utah known as the Uintah Basin was homesteaded in 1908. By the year 1915 a group of farsighted citizens decided it was time for the new community of Roosevelt to have a library. Since that time the Roosevelt Library has grown and Duchesne County Library, UT expanded to meet the needs of Duchesne County residents. In August of 2007 the Duchesne Library was opened and became the second branch in this library system. The Duchesne Library now serves as the headquarters of the library system and serves library patrons in Eastern Duchesne County.
In addition to providing recreational reading to the public the Duchesne County Library System also provides supplemental research material to students of two institutions of higher learning. Utah State University – Uintah Basin now offers 2 associate degrees, 23 bachelor degrees, 12 master degrees, and 1 doctorate degree. USU-UB has 1,100 students enrolled each semester. The second Institution of higher learning is the Uintah Basin Applied Technology College (UBATC). UBATC offers classes in a variety of subjects including: truck driving, nursing, business, and building trades.
Duchesne County is still primarily an agriculture community. Aside from the rich agriculture heritage Duchesne County is home to a large oil and gas industry. These industries along with a variety of medical jobs make for a very diversified clientele for this growing library system.
Presently the Duchesne County Library System houses approximately 65,000 items in its two member libraries. These libraries checked out approximately 235,000 items in the year 2010. For more information on the Duchesne County Library System check out their web page at duchesne.utah.gov.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park Black Bears attended the ARSL 2009 Conference. Photo taken from hotel window by conference attendees.
Lake City Public Library
Lake City, Tennessee
This beautiful facility was built in 1990 and serves Anderson and the surrounding counties. Please stop in if you are ever in this area.
2010 ARSL Board of Directors
Across the Country, USA
The 2010 Board of Directors for ARSL are (from left to right): Treasurer Becky Heil, Secretary Andrea Berstler, Convener Carla Lehn, Immediate Past President Patty Hector, Rose Chenoweth, Larry Greico, VP/Pres Elect Sonja Plummer-Morgan, Lynette Sloan, President Timothy Owens, Steve Seale, and Dwight McInvaill.
Alpine County Library
Bear Valley, California
This is the Bear Valley branch of the Alpine County Library. How would you like to get their heating bill in the winters?