Turning book pages


By Joe McKenzie Ι From January 2015 edition of Cover to Cover

A new year at the library always carries the promise of new books, e-resources, classes and services, but it grows out of the many projects and programs that are currently working and used by thousands of people. This is a healthy approach to staying strong and vital as an organization. So, as we move into 2015, part of the excitement is building on our success as we advance our services.

In 2014, we expanded the Salina Reads program, which we started in 2013. It’s been so much fun to have public participation in reading and discussing dozens of books in order to narrow it down to the one community read title.

One of our newer services that we would like to expand is delivery of children’s books to preschoolers who are in home child cares. We have collections at some of the larger child care centers and do programs there too, but we needed to get more library books into the hands of children who have less chance to get to the library. Volunteers make this important connection happen.

We also jumped into a simple Read Down Your Fines program for children who couldn’t pay. So, they just read. In the coming year, we would love to see this service expanded.
Also, in 2014, our Information Services staff were able to develop a special section for nonfiction DVDs. We have a strong collection of these films and now they are easier to find. They also pulled together Spanish language materials into their own section. It’s small, but will be growing in the coming year.

The new year

As we planned 2015, we evaluated what we’ve been doing over the past year. Planning is never a static process. We are often talking about new services, changes in procedures, previewing exciting products and lining up necessary projects long before time and budget can catch up to make them possible.

The new year will see us continue our experiment with CLASS for Kids. And, we are Turning Outward to schedule a series of community conversations to foster dialogues about life in Salina. It’s too easy to get busy within the library and not understand the changing community we serve.

Also new will be Hoopla, an easy to use online resource for library card holders to download movies, audiobooks and music. In fact, over the past couple of years, we have gradually shifted our collection building towards e-resources.

Our e-book collections will continue to develop, and of course, our technology classes continue to be popular. Our Tech Clubs for Kids have blossomed. It is fascinating to see children and teens get their hands on hardware. That’s one of the ways we connect people to learning.

Less cool will be the installation of a new air conditioning system. We may need your patience with this process. We will also try a new collection agency to help retrieve long overdue library materials. We can call and send notices and get nearly everything back. The collection agency will start with a friendly nudge and gradually move towards a bad credit report.

There are many more new initiatives that our dedicated staff are developing in the new year. It’s about service. We work to find relevant ways to connect people to information, learning and culture. And, the more people that are part of that process, the more vibrant and alive the public library will become.

Whether you visit the library in person or access our expanding scope of online services, we’ll work to make it a great experience that makes a positive difference in your life.

Joe McKenzie

Joe McKenzie is the library’s director.