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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

Returning Library Hours

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, April 24, 2011

This is the week that library hours will return to normal!

 

After the Library Levy was approved last Nov., hardly a week passed that someone didn’t ask, “When are the libraries going the reopen?”

 

It was a promise made during the levy campaign, and a promise that will be kept starting this week

 

The honor of being the first to reopen will be the Toronto Branch Library, which will return Wednesday hours to its schedule at 10:00 am on April 27.

 

An hour later, the Brilliant Branch will reopen for Wednesday hours.

 

On, April 30, the Adena Branch Library will restart its Saturday hours of 11:00 – 5:00.

 

May 1 will mark the return of Sunday hours to the Schiappa Branch, with 1:00 – 5:00 pm every week.

 

In addition to the restoration of all of those hours, staffing will increase with five employees returning from layoff, and hours restored to several other library staff.

 

You may have noticed new books, DVDs, and CDs appearing in all of our library locations as levy funds are being placed in the 2011 budget.

 

Library usage continues to grow.  The library system is averaging 50 new library cards being issued every week, in addition to the existing 33,000 active cards already in the system and being renewed.

 

The levy campaign continues to produce increased library usage by providing exposure to all of the locations and services that we offer to the public.

 

With the excitement of the restoration of library hours comes the realization that like all local governments, we have found new ways of providing service to the public at a lower cost.

 

Even with the levy, we have fewer staff, and are purchasing less new library materials than we did in 1996.

 

Our society today operates at what is being termed as, “the new normal.”

 

Collaboration among libraries is making our collections “seamless,” as 77 public libraries have joined online placing our joint collections in a common catalog for public use.

 

Actually, the 78th library to be in our online system is now active, and we welcome the users of the East Liverpool Library (and their collection) to the family of libraries in the SEO Library System.

 

Not every library may buy a specific book, but may otherwise have access to it through the borrowing and collaboration of the system.

 

Shared databases have been acquired at a group discount, and newspapers are available online through the Ohio News Bank to libraries.

 

Next week I will tell you about some exciting developments at the library relating to computer services and available Internet speeds.

 

In the meantime, let me tell you about how people have discovered their library during this time of economic strife.

 

The economic issues facing libraries over the past decade, and specifically over the past two years, have forced people to realize that their public library doesn’t exist without support.

 

Public libraries are units of local government that survive on taxes like other governmental units.

 

We thank you for your support, whether working for the levy campaign, or voting for the levy; or assisting the library as a volunteer, or donating a book for the collection.

 

It all adds up to a library system that exists for the whole of our community.

 

If you still don’t have a library card yet, now is your time.  I just ordered another supply, and there is always a blank card awaiting your name.